New Zealand has many different cultures that make up its society; two of these main cultures are Māori and Pākehā. This assignment will identify several key areas of difference between dominant Western/ Pākehā and Indigenous/ Māori models of health and well-being. Some studies that have tried to explain the best practice for providing mental health for Māori are; Te Whare Tapa Wha (Durie, n.d.); Te Wheke (Pere, 1988) and Te Pae Mahutonga (Durie, 1999). These models will be explained in this assignment and the issues of counselling using traditional Pākehā styles to treat Māori will also be addressed.
The traditional Western Pākehā viewpoint on health is very different from Māori, as it generally focuses on the individual and often overlooks the importance that culture, family, society and economic status can have on the client (Australian Psychological Society, 1997, as cited by, Ranzjin, McConnochie, Clarke & Nolan, 2007).
Traditional Pākehā psychological practice is based on Descartes Cartesian Dualism theory, which is when the mind and body are treated as completely separate entities. This reductionist model views disease as cellular processes with an illness-based focus and is seen as a deviation from the normal healthy state (Burton, Kowalski & Westen, 2009). The later biomedical model of health only acknowledges a biological clarification for illness, however important these biological clarifications are they still do not allow for a complete representation of the causes of illness (Burton, et al., 2009).
To understand an individual from Mäori culture it is important to understand their Tä Moko, as this depicts the individual's identity, status and Whakapapa. Whakapapa is the geneology of the individual; it defines their Tūpuna (layer in history). The Whakapapa refers to the family structure and consists of the Whänau, Hapū, Iwi and Waka (Scribe, 2003). Before the arrival of Europeans the term Whänau would have referred to several bloodline generations living together in a close community. This included people who supported the Whänau (Whāngai). The term Whänau in today's society has many interpretations; the two most commonly described are a collective of individuals connected via kinship (whakapapa) or as the result of a collective goal (kaupapa) (Te Puni Kökiri, 2000).
Māori traditionally do not operate as isolated individuals but as part of a collective group (Whänau) who share common ancestors and kinship groups (Durie, 2005). According to Shulruf, Hattie and Dixon (2011) collectivism is associated with a strong sense of duty to group, relatedness to others, seeking others' advice, harmony, and working with the group. This collective group is mutually beneficial; the individual looks after the collective, which in turn looks after the individual (Durie, 2005). This form of collective group is essential for Māori to maintain wellbeing. Māori believe Whanau ora is the perfect state of being, meaning the health of the one individual across all four elements, naturally influences the whanau and the communities they live in (Durie, 1984). There are three studies that emphasise this point.