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Injury to Maori—does language hold the key to bringing about change
  1. Raihania Joyce
  1. Anne Injury Prevention Network of Aotearoa, New Zealand (IPNANZ), PO Box 11554, Manners Street, Wellington 6142


    Background Maori, the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, once prided themselves as injury prevention practitioners. Following their ambitious journey from the mythological homeland Hawaiiki in 925AD, safe practices were imperative for the survival of the Iwi (tribe), in adapting to this new land. Within this collective concept, self-determination was about understanding Where I had come from, knowing where I was going, And, creating safe pathways to get there. Historically cultural practices recognised that failure to abide by ‘common laws’ could result in severe injury and even death to the individual or the Iwi. Data shows that injury and death by injury for Maori peoples, continues to increase and it is timely that the sector looks to the practices and titles of ‘Te Ao Maori- the Maori World of Old’ to assist in reducing such incidence in this ‘New World’—the 21st century.

    Purpose 1. Review relevant historical practices and language of early Maori;

    2. Identify contributing factors that have now led to Maori being the perpetrators and victims to New Zealand's injury and death rates;

    3. Consider the learning's from this review, informing the design of future research to gain better understanding of Maori attitudes and behaviours around injury prevention practices.

    Methods IPNANZ has produced a report reviewing the literature on what is currently understood about indigenous and Maori attitudes and behaviours around injury prevention practices. Key Maori stakeholders were also consulted to identify gaps in our knowledge of Maori perceptions of injury and injury prevention.

    Outcome The report will form the basis of a research project that aims to fill identified knowledge gaps, and inform future injury prevention programmes for Maori. The findings of this report, and the research that will follow from it, will assist in the reduction of the incidence and severity of injury sustained by Maori in the 21st century.

    Contribution to the Field Self-determination for Maori begins with understanding themselves and the current world that they work, live and play.

    Implementation of injury prevention practices is the next step to ensuring that Maori will enjoy the same quality of safe lives as that of other populations in New Zealand.

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