1st Edition

Collaborative and Indigenous Mental Health Therapy Tātaihono – Stories of Māori Healing and Psychiatry

    192 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    192 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines a collaboration between traditional Māori healing and clinical psychiatry. Comprised of transcribed interviews and detailed meditations on practice, it demonstrates how bicultural partnership frameworks can augment mental health treatment by balancing local imperatives with sound and careful psychiatric care. In the first chapter, Māori healer Wiremu NiaNia outlines the key concepts that underpin his worldview and work. He then discusses the social, historical, and cultural context of his relationship with Allister Bush, a child and adolescent psychiatrist. The main body of the book comprises chapters that each recount the story of one young person and their family’s experience of Māori healing from three or more points of view: those of the psychiatrist, the Māori healer and the young person and other family members who participated in and experienced the healing. With a foreword by Sir Mason Durie, this book is essential reading for psychologists, social workers, nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, and students interested in bicultural studies.



    List of Abbreviations

    Chapter One: Introduction

    Chapter Two: Context

    Chapter Three: Hey Moko, Slow Down!

    Chapter Four: George and the Thing

    Chapter Five: The Lesson

    Chapter Six: ‘I Will Not Leave My Baby Behind’

    Chapter Seven: Into the World of Light

    Chapter Eight: Tātaihono







    Wiremu NiaNia was apprenticed as a child to a spiritual healer of the NiaNia whānau. In 2005 he became the cultural therapist at Te Whare Mārie, the Māori mental health service at Capital Coast District Health Board. He is now an independent healer, writer and consultant.

    Allister Bush is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Te Whare Mārie, the Māori mental health service in Porirua, and at Health Pasifika (integrated Pacific mental health service, Capital Coast District Health Board).

    David Epston is an honorary clinical lecturer at University of Melbourne and an affiliate faculty member at North Dakota State University.


    A significant contribution to the growing literature on indigenous views of health and illness. Asserts and secures Māori identity amid global pressures for cultural uniformity and homogenization. An informative journey into the Māori way-of-knowing and way-of-being in the world. The glossary of Maori language terms is a special treat.

    Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Hawaii.


    Ahakoa he pukapuka i roto i te Reo Pākehā, ka puta mai he whakaaro Māori tuturu. Nā rāua i rangatira motuhake ai tā tātou akoranga hei whakamahiti korou tō tātou mahi tahi, kia piki ake ai te oranga o ngā whānau. Despite being in English, a truly Māori approach is visible. The two authors present a unique opportunity to elevate our learning in order to strengthen working together so that whānau health is advanced.

    Dr Hinemoa Elder, Professor in Indigenous Mental Health Research and Director of Te Whare Mātai Aronui, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi


    Tātaihono is a unique book on what should be a culturally-adapted and person-centered care in the 21st century. It outlines the experiences of two exceptional individuals, one a Māori healer and the other a European-New Zealander psychiatrist, whom carefully manage together challenging clinical cases among the Māori. A wonderful account on Indigenous healers-psychiatrists’ collaboration and their contributions to global mental health.

    Mario Incayawar, M.D, MSc., PhD., Runajambi Institute, Inca Nation, South America.


    The book is wonderful and makes a great contribution to psychiatry both in Australia and New Zealand. It furthers our understanding of the human experience through a cultural lens and clearly demonstrates the importance of good, respectful relationships within the clinical team and with the families seeking assistance. It also highlights the importance and significance of Indigenous knowledge and the benefit from using both a western and Indigenous perspective in achieving good outcomes. I really like the way the book has been written by honouring the voices of all who participated in the case studies and acknowledging their shared wisdom and experiences.

    Professor Helen Milroy, Director, Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health


    I found this to be an excellent exposition of quality clinical practice in mental health in a bicultural framework. I would strongly commend it to trainee psychiatrists as a core text in their training, and would recommend it to all those working in mental health in New Zealand.

    Professor Pete Ellis, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Otago, Wellington


    This work will be of wide interest to multiple practitioner and lay audiences both nationally and internationally, for people with difficulties of this kind and their families, for indigenous and non-indigenous mental health workers in different contexts, for clinical teachers, trainees and researchers, and anyone concerned with the mental health and wellbeing of those in their communities.

    Professor Tim McCreanor, Social Scientist, Massey University, Auckland


    The UNITEC Bachelor of Social Practice programme with its 300 students and the Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling with its 50 students, are both crying out for a book of this sort.

    Kay Ingamells, Lecturer, Department of Social Practice, UNITEC Institute of Technology, Auckland


    The authors have been able to use recordings of the actual clinical sessions to ensure accuracy of the content. They have also been able to follow up with the patients and have obtained updates on clinical outcomes and reflections on their experiences of the treatment they received. This all combines to provide a rich picture of how a truly collaborative interface between scientific and indigenous Maori knowledge looks. This definitely has value for clinicians of any ethnicity who will be working with Maori, at any level of experience. I will certainly be reading this book again.

    Clive Banks, Consultant Clinical Psychologist: Ora Toa Mauriora

    "I experienced this book as devine. It is beautifully written, provides detailed examples of how to assess for possible spiritual problems (which can be primary or comorbid issues), and teaches ua all how we might best partner healers steened in an indigenous, spiritual understanding of what it means to suffer and find healing."

    Dr Granda, University of Hawai'i, Honolulu