For the past 4 years Healthy Families systems innovator, Meretini Bennett-Huxtable has been actively working to assist the revitalisation of Maramataka. The traditional Māori division of time, within the Whanganui, Rangitīkei and Ruapehu region. The culmination of the learnings gathered during this time, is outlined in the phase one Maramataka Insights Report that will be released on the 23rd of July 2021.
“Maramataka has taught us to go back to our own narratives, to look to our natural environment for the signs to help us manage our wellbeing. We’ve worked with kaumātua, knowledge holders and maramataka practioners throughout the rohe (region) and nationally to provide a space for the shared knowledge, that through many decades has been lying somewhat dormant, to diverge” says Bennett-Huxtable.
“This report brings together the insights from over 2,000 data points that tell us that whānau are using maramataka to reflect and act on their indivdual and collective wellbeing, that they are using maramataka in their everyday lives, that maramataka is assisting them to reconnect with te taiao (the environment) and their Te Ao Māori worldview and that maramataka is applicable in natural and built environments as a practical tool to reintroduce a more hollistic relationship with kai (food).”
The Maramataka Insights Report demonstrates a hollistic Māori system that has been created by Māori for Māori, that is helping to strengthen and empower those that are using it to create their own solutions for greater health and wellbeing.
“In this report we premise that from a greater connection to our own indigenous narrative, and demonstration and application of that, we will contribute to our own solutions for Māori wellbeing” says Bennett-Huxtable.
The Maramataka Insights Report assists in providing an evidence base that supports the narrative Māori communities have re-iterated to Government for decades, that the current health system does not meet the needs of Māori. Thus adding further support to the recomendations within the Whakamaua report (2020) regarding the intergration of matauranga Māori into the health and disability system via the current reforms.
For Healthy Families WRR manager Rebecca Davis the case for change is clear. “We believe that while futher work is required in order to adequately demonstrate this, using learnings from matauranga Māori systems we could potentially engage our communities at higher risk of preventable chronic illnesses, in the health system much earlier - at the preventative end of the spectrum to create greater health outcomes and address the equity issues that continue to plague our people.”
Te Oranganui Mātaiwhetū (CEO), Wheturangi Walsh Tapiata agrees “The solution to our own wellbeing is in our own indigenous knowledge and we just have to activate this in our lives. Te Taiao (The natural environment) is calling out for us to be the healers that we know we can be. We need to read the signs.”
To find out more about Maramataka, matauranga Māori systems and the Maramataka Insights Report please contact Meretini Bennett-Huxtable firstname.lastname@example.org or via www.healthyfamilieswrr.org.nz. More information is also available via the Healthy Families WRR social media platforms – Facebook and Instagram.