The purpose of this thesis is to examine Maori experiences of the development and delivery of indigenous knowledge-based Maori health (hauora) models, and to consider the experiences and hauora models conceptually as models for co-operative co-existence (kotahitanga) between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
Two key debates emerge from the indigenous health development literature: firstly, how and why could nations be more constructive in their engagements with indigenous peoples to ensure indigenous knowledge and practices remain or become a vital part of indigenous, national and global health developments, and secondly, how can health researchers best seek an understanding of, and effectively communicate, these indigenous experiences to non-indigenous audiences, without losing the authenticity of the indigenous experience studied? This thesis takes an indigeneity approach in its contribution to these two indigenous health development debates. The examination is of hauora models in the Tihi Ora health sub-region of the Ngati Whatua peoples, who have a self-determination proposal they have defined as ‘Kotahitanga’. This approach can be summarised as how Ngati Whatua practice their rangatiratanga (leadership, authority and self determination) and manawhenua (responsibility for their lands and peoples on their lands) through a kotahitanga (co-operative co-existence) approach.
The study is based on five case studies of Maori health organisations in the Tihi Ora region. It examines how the Maori health organisations implemented matauranga (Maori knowledge) through tikanga (methodology) models they had created as hauora services for Maori and non-Maori in their communities from the 1990s. In particular it is an examination of the constructive engagements that occurred between Maori health organisations and their communities, in the development and delivery of their hauora services. The findings of the research are then conceptualised as models for kotahitanga between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. The study includes a health policy analysis of the matauranga within indigenous health policies in the 1990s to explore whether policy created tikanga, or whether matauranga created tikanga and policy, in the study period of 1980 to 2008. The research suggests that there was congruence in the matauranga found in the case studies and policy analysis, but that the tikanga-based hauora models were highly differentiated and uniquely created to achieve their community’s distinctive expectations. The hauora kotahitanga models therefore functioned on how community members chose to live together differently through matauranga Maori.