||The role of whānau (extended families) is recognised as an essential aspect of hauora (wellbeing) for Maori, who are over represented in populations where there is injury or insult to the brain. Whānau mātauranga (knowledge systems) are a potent resource for enhancing recovery outcomes. This approach, based on Rangahau Kaupapa Māori (research by Māori for Māori) takes the view that by locating the whānau within their own culturally determined knowledge systems and optimising their integral role in the delivery of culturally required interventions, the recovery experience will be enhanced, and they will feel a greater sense of ease and self-determination in the process of their own healing. Te Waka Oranga describes a process of bringing together whānau knowledge, skills, and feelings, with health workers’ knowledge, skills, and feelings in the context of identifying recovery destinations they collectively want to bring forward in order to improve the experience of recovery and to improve outcomes for whānau using the metaphor of a waka. It is also hypothesised that this approach will improve the experience of the health workers. Te Waka Kuaka is a Māori cultural needs assessment tool that has been developed to further guide this work, which uses the metaphor of a flock of godwits. This paper describes the development of a combined approach, using these two tools, with whānau at the centre. This illustrates in both theory and praxis a culturally defined way of bringing whānau resources to the fore to promote whānau healing. While originally designed to address issues in the area of traumatic brain injury, it is likely that this way of working may also have wider application in the areas of insult to the brain such as mental health, addictions, and neurodegenerative disorders.
1 How to think about and apply Māori concepts of health in practice.
2 Recognising the importance of assessing whānau cultural needs.
3 Understanding the concept of wairua.
4 The importance of making time for cultural practices of engagement.
5 Increased awareness of mātauranga Māori and use of the whānau