The Whai Tikanga toolkit has been co-created by Wintec staff member and clinical psychologist, Andre McLachlan in recognition of the importance of using a Māori-centred approach for Māori clients and whanau.

“By using a Māori-centred approach to therapy, practitioners can utilise traditional Māori concepts of health and promote Māori values,” said McLachlan. “This can enhance engagement and psychological outcomes for whanau.”

The toolkit comprises four activities: Whai Tikanga values cards, Te Whare Tapa Whā, a “Pleasant Events’ schedule and Korurangi. Each activity in the toolkit aims at helping whānau explore what’s important to them using traditional Māori values.

Andre McLachlan demonstrating the Whai Tikanga toolkit at a recent workshop at Wintec.

The Whai Tikanga values cards are a set of cards which have the name and description of a Māori value on one side and a whakatauki (Māori proverb) on the other side. Each card is aligned to one of four wellbeing components from Ta Mason Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā model of wellbeing.

The Whai Tikanga ‘Pleasant Events’ schedule aligns with Te Whare Tapa Whā, the four cornerstones or sides of Māori health and provides a range of activities that people can use to strengthen each aspect of their wellbeing. The Korurangi is an adapted version of a sociogram where whānau are supported to explore their relationships and support systems. These four activities culminate in the development of Te Mahere Oranga – a wellbeing plan.

“The Whai Tikanga values cards help whānau to identify which take pū (values) are most important to them and where these take pū (values) come from,” said McLachlan. “This connects whānau strongly with the motivating force of their whakapapa.”

He said the practitioner can then work with whānau to explore these values and start looking at how this person can start living by these values. “This has the effect of addressing concerns by increasing wellbeing and resilience through whakapapa korero (original instructions/whānau narratives)”.

He said the toolkit had now been used by grassroots practitioners and clinicians – such as nurses, social workers, counsellors and psychologists – across the country and had been well-received and he had had “extremely positive feedback”.

Whanganui-based clinical psychologist Dr Rebecca Wirihana uses the cards regularly in group therapy and individual therapy. “I find that people respond to the cards to such a degree that they have actually asked to take them home to remind them of their learnings. They are extremely useful for engagement, particularly with their use of te reo Māori,” she said. “Most importantly, they can be used to identify the values people feel are important in their lives and, as clinicians, this is integral to ensuring that we are working in a manner that best suits their needs.”

McLachlan said the toolkit requires practitioners to have a thorough understanding of tikanga Māori, so it is mainly being used by Māori practitioners. Wintec has partnered with Te Rau Matatini and is exploring a digital version of the Whai Tikanga values cards to make it more accessible for practitioners and whānau.

To find out more about the toolkit you can contact the Te Rau Matatini Training Coordinator or watch an introductory video here.

Read more about Whai Tikanga Maori centered values.

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  1. Should Maori people affected by “mental health” issues be treated differently than everybody else?? Is Maori “mental well-being” different from that of any other population group in New Zealand??

    I doubt it. “Please, Mr/Ms Psychologist/Psychotherapist/Psychiatrist, now put on your Maori treatment hat – because I am Maori, I am different and need to be treated differently!! Put like that the notion sounds silly – and it is silly. It is also impossible and irrational – and racist. 200 years ago, when first our two races and cultures met and (immediately) began to intermarry, Andre McLachlan could have presented a reasonable case for his ideas. But over these 8 generations things have happened in New Zealand (in case McLachlan hasn’t noticed). Both cultures and people are well and truly mixed. Early 19th century stone-age Maori and colonizing Pakeha are no longer with us : time does not stand still. At that time we hadn’t yet invented psychologists – but in happy ignorance of psychology we carried on like human beings always did when meeting other races and cultures : we intermarried and moved on together. And over these last 30 years we are just about getting there. It is disheartening now to find people like McLachlan, determined to sabotage this natural, social development with his truly racist policies.

    • Andy, that is a very close-minded (racist) view. I implore you to educate yourself with the teachings of some amazing researchers such as Moana Jackson to name one before you put down someone who is trying to make a difference through a Tikanga method. We are Maori, the result of colonisation is where we stand economically, educationally, health wise and so on. So yes, it is important to address Maori health through a Maori context that works better for Maori. The difference between equality and equity must be emphasised. Although both promote fairness, equality achieves this through treating everyone the same regardless of need, while equity achieves this through treating people differently depending on need. Stats show us that there is this need and therefore Dr. McLachlan has provided a method that can work for Maori. Kia ora Dr. McLachlan.
      Tehei Mauri Ora!

      Shane Timmermans

  2. Kia Ora

    Could someone please direct where I would be able to get/purchase some Whai Tikanga Cards, they would be helpful working with our Rangatahi/Taiohi.

    Nga mihi


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