A series of Workshops with Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy in New Zealand

We are excited to announce we have organised a series of workshops with Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy for March 2015. Thanks to funding from the Lotteries Board and also the ASB Community trust find.

We will also be offering four free places in Auckland and Whangarei workshops for people with cultural knowledge/ expertise. Those who know the stories of our people and the land in each area. Email me to apply for these places.

The workshops we are offering are

1) Narrative Medicine- Storytelling in West Auckland and in Russell Bay of Islands

2) Remapping your Mind & Sacred Drama in Manakau and Whangarei

3) Cherokee Bodywork in Russell, Bay of Islands.

You can also see all the info on our website here and download registration forms and PDFS of the fliers, http://www.hearingvoices.org.nz/index.php/events-and-workshops/104-a-series-of-workshops-with-lewis-mehl-madrona-barbara-mainguy-march-2015

” Open Dialogue” evening in Wellington May 27 2013 with Jaana Castella

Hi all glad to let you know we have a great event planned for Wellington on 27 mAy ( Jaana will also be speaking in Auckland on May 30th, just firming up a venue)




Are pleased to host an educational evening on

“OPEN DIALOGUE” with Jaana Castella.

an innovative approach to acute psychiatric crises developed by Jaakko SeikkulaMarkku Sutela, and their multidisciplinary team at Keropudas Hospital in Tornio, Finland. Jaana is a psychiatric nurse from the Region of Sjaelland who is trained in the “Open Dialogue” technique with Jaako Seikkula and Tom Anderson in 1999 and has been working with people with psychosis using this method and educating others in the techniques.


Fundamental to the approach is the shift away from an immediate emphasis on trying to eradicate symptoms.   The conversation, or dialogue, is not “about” the person, but a way of “being with” them and living through the crisis together.  What Tom Andersen M.D. called “withness practices” mitigates the sense of isolation and distance a frightening episode can produce and leads to a path of recovery.

Starting in the eighties, there have been a variety of research studies of Open Dialogue and its outcomes with early psychosis.The results consistently show that this approach reduces hospitalization, the use of medication, and recidivism when compared with treatment as usual. For example, in a five-year study, 83% of patients had returned to their jobs or studies or were looking for a job (Seikkula et al. 2006), In the same study, 77% did not have any residual symptoms. Such outcomes led the Finnish National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health to award a prize recognizing the Keropudas group for “the ongoing development of psychiatric care over a period of ten years.”                                                                           http://www.dialogicpractice.net/open-dialogue%E2%84%A0/

See a video trailer about the Open Dialogue method here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBjIvnRFja4


talking about her Hikoi for Healthy Choices for those with mental illness.  Annie has been walking from Cape Reinga to Wellington to raise awareness of the need for the government to provide better options for those diagnosed with mental illness. Open Dialogue  is one of the treatment options Annie would like to see implemented in New Zealand.  Come and hear about why Annie is walking, and sign her petition for change.


When: 6.30 to 8.30 PM Monday 27th May 2013

Where: Newtown Community Center, cnr of Colombo and Rintoul Sts, Newtown Wellington.

Cost: $20 for waged , Gold coin Koha for Unwaged. We are a registered charity. These fees will help pay expenses, and support sending our members to the World  Voices Congress in Melbourne this year.

Bookings: Call Lize  021 049 0887  or Adrienne at 0272650266 or email: info@hearingvoices.org.nzThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for a registration form. Please note spaces are limited. You will need to book.


Hikoi for Healthy choices

Anne chapman started her walk from the top of the North Island of NZ to Wellington on the 12th December. Annie wants to see more healthy choices for people under mental health care.

We are supporting Annie in her walk to bring about change. You can see more details about her walk here on her blog.


Go Annie. Any extra funds raised are to be donated to the Hearing Voices Network Aotearoa NZ, so we can continue to support voice hearers.



Research paper on Schizophrenia and Dietary intake

I was sent this link to an interesting article about Schizophrenia and diet. ( Also covers depression and diet.)

Here is a bit of an excerpt, to see the whole paper and tables etc click on the link above.
The British Journal of Psychiatry (2004) 184: 404-408
© 2004
The Royal College of Psychiatrists

International variations in the outcome of schizophrenia and the prevalence of depression in relation to national dietary practices: an ecological analysis

Malcolm Peet, FRCPsych Swallownest Court Hospital, Aughton Road, Sheffield S26 4TH, UK.Declaration of interest M.P. has received research funding fromLaxdale Ltd, a company which is developing ethyleicosapentaenoicacid as a treatment for psychiatric and neurological disorders.  
Background Dietary variations are known to predictthe prevalenceof physical illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease butthe possible influence of diet on mental health has been neglected.

Aims To explore dietary predictors of the outcome of schizophreniaand the prevalence of depression.

Method Ecological analysis of national dietary patterns in relationto international variations in outcome of schizophrenia andprevalence of depression.

Results A higher national dietary intake of refined sugar anddairy products predicted a worse 2-year outcome of schizophrenia.A high national prevalence of depression was predicted by alow dietary intake of fish and seafood…

Here is some of the further info

…Conclusions The dietary predictors of outcome of schizophreniaand prevalence of depression are similar to those that predictillnesses such as coronary heart disease and diabetes, whichare more common in people with mental health problems and inwhich nutritional approaches are widely recommended. Dietaryintervention studies are indicated in schizophrenia and depression.

The most consistent finding is that a greaterconsumption of refined sugar is associated with a worse outcomeof schizophrenia and a greater prevalence of depression. Inthe schizophrenia data-sets, a high correlation with sugarconsumption was seen both for outcome measures based on hospitaladmission and those based on social outcome. Other correlationsthat were found in both schizophrenia data-sets but not necessarilyfor both admission and social outcome measures included theconsumption of meat and eggs (adverse relationship) and theconsumption of pulses (beneficial relationship). Dairy productsand alcohol consumption were associated with a poor outcomein the IPSS study but not in the DOSMED database. With regardto depression, the strongest association was between a highdietary intake of fish and seafood and reduced prevalence ofdepression. A high intake of dairy products and sugar was associatedwith an increased prevalence of depression, whereas a highintake of starchy roots was associated with a reduced prevalenceof depression…

…Diet and outcome of schizophrenia
The finding that the outcome of schizophrenia is better in developingthan in developed countries has never been satisfactorily explainedand does not appear related simply to confounding factors suchas diagnostic differences and selective outcome measures (Hopper & Wanderling, 2000).Christensen & Christensen (1988)reported a correlation between international variations inoutcome of schizophrenia according to the IPSS study and theratio in the diet of animal (mainly saturated) fat to fish andvegetables (mainly polyunsaturated) fats. This was reflectedin the present study, where correlations were shown betweena higher consumption of meat and dairy products and a worseoutcome of schizophrenia. However, strong intercorrelationsare found between various dietary constituents, and on multipleregression analysis it was sugar consumption that was the predominantpredictor of poor outcome in schizophrenia. Exceptions to thiswere that the consumption of dairy products predicted hospitaladmission in the IPSS study, and alcohol was a weak predictorof global good outcome in the DOSMED study. Therefore, thedominant and robust finding of this analysis is the predictivevalue of sugar consumption.

Diet and prevalence of depression
There has been recent interest in the relationship between fishconsumption and depression. Hibbeln & Salem (1995) notedthat the increased prevalence of depression in the 20th centuryparallels the increased rates of coronary heart disease thatare thought to be associated with altered dietary patterns,including reduced dietary intake of omega-3 polyunsaturatedfatty acids. Hibbeln (1998) has subsequently demonstratedstriking correlations between dietary fish intake and internationalvariations in major depression. Using the same depression databaseas Hibbeln (1998), we have confirmed the relationship betweenfish consumption and international variations in rates of depression,and also found that sugar consumption relates to the prevalenceof depression. This had been noted previously by Westover &Marangell (2002). However, multiple regression analysis showsthat fish and seafood consumption provides the strongest andmost robust independent predictor of depression prevalence.

The fragrance of an Angel and Helpful voices.

I am currently going through all my Aromatherapy notes and books as I am preparing for my presentation on Aromatherapy for Hearing Voices at our September 18th 2010 seminar ( see our website www.hearingvoices.org.nz)  In mental health circles, seeing or hearing angels is usually considered delusional. Yet in many circles, many sane and respected people report similar occurences and often write about it. The difference of course is that they lead successful lives.

Here is an excerpt from a book called ” The Fragrant Heavens” By Valerie Worwood. I met Valerie when she came to New Zealand many years ago to hold an Aromatherapy workshop. She is a veritable aromatherapy expert and very well regarded in her field. 

 Pg 102

Some people believe in Angels because they have seen them, even in some cases before their eyes beheld them. Other people believe in angels because they have heard their voices, or smelt their sweet fragrances and known they were near. When these things happen, there is no turning back… you believe in angels…

… I met an angel twenty years ago and so have no doubt they exist. The light and peace that angels emanate is so profoundly different from anything on earth, it s impossible to confuse it with everyday reality. The light I saw was an overwhelming luminescence, shining in rays from every pore of the figure, who was beautiful  in the extreme. The sense of peace that settled upon me was amazing and it was alive in every molecule of my being…

… I know I have been helped many times by angelic beings, like when driving along, one whispered ‘pull over’ in my ear – which allowed me to avoid a collision and turned out to be excellent advice.

On experience I’m particularly grateful for happened on holiday some years ago. A group of us were sitting on a beach which was some distance away. The red flag was up, and we’d been advised that the sea was dangerous that day. With my three-year old playing with friends and their parents nearby, I lay on my front put my head on my arms and drifted off to sleep. I was awakened by a voice that said just one word “Sea”. It was  not a loud voice, nor a particularly insistent one, but it had me on my feet in an instant and flying like the wind to the seashore. I reached the water just as an enormous wave poised itself over my little girl, who stood there watching the watery crest above her, oblivious to the danger. I grabbed her in my arms, pulled her away, and thanked the voice from the bottom of my heart.

I’m inclined to think an angel whispered into my ear, rather than it being intuition, because I have seen a shining being standing in my own living room and that wasn’t intuition! Angels are very physical when they want to be and very etheric when they want to be. They straddle the two universes. This experiencing of them accords with the current theological position which, according to Canon Emeritus of Ely Cathedral, describes angels as ‘spiritual beings intermediate between God and mankind’… Pope John Paul II has stated that angels do exist and that they ‘have a fundamental role to play in unfolding of human events’.

pg 105

…Angels have a fragrance which in my experience at least, precedes their ‘appearance’ , or remains after they ‘disappear’. Perhaps the fragrance was also there when I actually saw the angel, but was ‘cut out’ as my senses focused intently on the vision in front of me. I tried really hard to remember each visual detail, and was mesmerised by what appeared to be wings. Each ‘feather’ seemed to be a center or vortex of energy made up of light – the spine in particular being a source of great light-yet also a route to the infinite, while each delicate strand coming off it was a chain made up of many sparkling lights. Each sparkle on each strand had its own energy field, and together they made the form of a superluminous ‘feather’, which was less a material feather than an arrangement of light in a feather shape. The overall effect was extremely powerful and ‘awe inspiring.

I’ve found the fragrance of angels elusive in the sense that it seems to have no source. It just suddenly appears and suffuses the whole body and mind. I can recall two aromas quite distinctly, neither of which I have encountered before. One was fairly similar to a heavy , deep, rose maroc. The other was a light fragrance that was sweet and floralish, but not just floral, also a resin- imagine frankincense as a flower but without the same aroma. Sometimes I will smell and angel without seeing one, and I know it’s the fragrance of angels because it’s so pervading and fills my nose even to the point that I feel I can’t inhale any longer.

After such powerful aromatic experiences I always have a good look and sniff around to see if there was any other possible source for the phenomenon. I check my clothes for perfume; my essential oil store for any open bottles or spills; I sniff all the plants and flowers; and run through my mind who has been in the house, possibly wearing scent; but no source for the strange scent has ever been found. Others in the house have smelt it too- and the mystery remains long after the fragrance has gone.” 

I think it is important to know that – sane people can hear voices and experience other beings, and tactile sensations and also that there are also good voices. For people who hear only distressing voices this can be a source of comfort.

Healthy Choices for Living with Voices- September 18th

We are pleased to advise that we are holding a seminar to celebrate Hearing Voices day. This year our theme is on Healthy choices. At the Hearing Voices Network we like to encourage Voice hearers to empower themselves. To find out what makes their voices better and what makes them worse.  We have three speakers to share some simple ways to help us to live with voices. To ease some of the challenges faced by people that hear distressing voices and to enhance their wellbeing so they feel stronger and better able to cope. Our research shows that often well voice hearers experience many of the same things as unwell voice hearers.  The difference? Their ability to cope with their experiences. They often have many more coping strategies than distressed voice hearers. Often these strategies combine physical, mental and spiritual strategies. After all we are not just a head. We are complex integrated body systems. To follow are the details of the event. You can also download a flier from our website  www.hearingvoices.org.nz

When we are faced with an obstacle in our lives, often we look for one big step that will help, in reality it is usually many small steps that are required.

The Hearing Voices Network are celebrating


                     We are pleased to present an afternoon of        


 The Hearing Voices Network have some wonderful speakers to share their knowledge and experience on simple ways we can choose to help ourselves to live and cope with voices

Ayurvedic Medicine                                       
DR PRIYA PUNJABI : is a practitioner in Ayurvedic medicine. She will talk about the Ayurvedic perspective and therapies that may increase wellness for those that hear voices.


ADRIENNE GIACON-  is an experienced Aromatherapist- has taught and lectured on Aromatherapy, is the secretary and  faciltated the support group at Te Ata for four years for the HVNANZ. She will share how to use Aromatherapy to help with the many symptoms and issues that Voice hearers often experience.

 Food and Mood
 ADRIENNE GRACE- is trained in nutrition, natural therapies and counselling. She will speak on “Food and mood, drawing on her own experiences and research on how what we eat can affect the way we feel and behave. Adrienne has facilitated many workshops to consumers and mental health providers



Bring a plate with something nutritional and healthy for everyone to taste and try.  The food with the most votes wins.
1st Prize $50.00, 2nd Prize   $30.00, 3rd Prize $20.00


When: Saturday 18th September 2010         Time:  1.00pm until 4.00pm

Where: Grey Lynn Library Hall. Next to Grey Lynn Library, Great North Rd, AUCKLAND.

Entry:  free, please bring a plate. You may want to enter our competition above.

BOOKINGS & INFO: Call Adrienne at 027 265 0266<!– var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy27684 = 'info' + '@'; addy27684 = addy27684 + 'hearingvoices' + '.' + 'org' + '.' + 'nz'; document.write( '‘ ); document.write( addy27684 ); document.write( ” ); //\n // > // –>  Sponsored by the  ASB Community Trust.      
Please note we require bookings as space is not infinite- within the hall anyway…

Yoga Applications for Mental Health

Please feel warmly invited to two evenings of information on the Science of Yoga and its Application in Mental Health with

Visiting Neurophysiologist Philip Stevens (Swami Samnyasananda) – BSc (Psych, Physiol); BSc (hons) (Physiol); MWSCY; FWSCY

(please  see the Hearing Voices Network Website–  EVENTS for the fliers)

 ‘Yoga and Meditation for Mental Health Applications’

February, 17th Wednesday 6:30pm to 8pm

Followed by conversation over vegetarian meal – Please register for easy food planning by Mon, 15th Feb. Thank you.

St Lukes Community Centre – 30 Remuera Road – Remuera –   ‘Courtyard Room’  

Parking on site

Donation/Koha appreciated

 The Science of Yoga: Body, Breath & Balance’

Deepen your understanding of the neurophysiology of Yoga.

Learn about the benefits of yogic breathing and How it affects the heart, the brain and the nervous system.

February, 18th Thursday 6:30pm to 9pm

St Columba Centre – 40 Vermont Street – Ponsonby – ‘Brother Phelan Room’     

Free parking on site

Donation/Koha $20 suggested

 All welcome. Please feel free to extend the invitation to anyone who you think might be interested.

 Enquiries please to Brigitte Sistig: BrigitteS@orcon.net.nz or Mobile: 021-113 4171


The original story can be found on the NZ Herald site here

Clinical psychologist Julia Rucklidge’s research found supplements helped mental health. Photo / SuppliedPeople with mental illness made “remarkable” improvements by taking a daily dose of nutritional supplements rather than conventional medicines, a trial has found.

The work by a Canterbury University clinical psychologist has shown the potential that consumption of the right micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids, could have for helping a range of mental health problems.

Many who took part in a trial with Associate Professor Julia Rucklidge showed improvements they had not shown under prescription drugs.

Dr Rucklidge said it should come as no surprise that micronutrients could affect psychiatric symptoms, as they were essential for the inner workings of the brain.

“It is possible that some individuals with mental illness either have deficiencies in nutrients or may need more for optimal brain functioning.”

Dr Rucklidge’s trial focused on sufferers of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which affects 3 to 5 per cent of adults.
In the trial, 14 adults with both ADHD and severe mood dysregulation (SMD) took a 36-ingredient micronutrient formula that consisted of mainly vitamins, minerals and amino acids, over eight weeks.

Significant improvements were found on measures of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, mood, quality of life, anxiety and stress.

“Most of the individuals were in a moderate to severe depressed state at the start of the trial,” Dr Rucklidge said..

“At the end of the eight weeks, the mean score on the depression measure fell in the normal non-depressed range, which is a fairly remarkable change in such a short time, especially as many had not experienced such improvements with other conventional treatments.

“Participants were monitored for a further two months and people who stayed on the micronutrient formula showed further improvements and the ones who came off showed regression in their symptoms.”

Dr Rucklidge said another important finding of her work was that micronutrient treatment had few side effects in comparison to many of the mood stabilisers and stimulants used in conventional treatments.

Dr Lyndy Matthews, of the College of Psychiatrists, said there was a lack of scientific evidence to show micronutrients were an effective treatment for mental illness.

But she considered it very important for people being treated for mental illness to take care of their physical health, often directing her own patients to see a dietician.

The Mental Health Foundation welcomed another approach that could help treat mental illness, “particularly one that is more than just pharmaceutical products, and that people can work with themselves”.


Drug treatments for mental illness, year ended June 2009

* Prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs: About 390,000

* Prescriptions for antidepressant drugs: About 1.23 million

Article By Jarrod Booker

Nz Young Among World’s highest users of cannabis-NZ Herald- Sat October 17

This was in the NZ Herald today, note cannabis is known to cause psychotic episodes.

Lancet study includes long list of health risks for the world’s 166 million cannabis smokers.

Young people in New Zealand are among the world’s biggest users of cannabis. Nearly 4 percent of adults globally use the drug, though it raises many health concerns according to a paper published in the Lancet yesterday.

It cited figures from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which estimated that in 2006 there were 166 million users of cannabis aged from 15-64 0r 3.9 percent of the world’s population  in this age category. The drug is the most used among young people in rich countries, led by New Zealand, Australia and the US, followed bu Europe, but appears to be becoming popular on a global scale, with use rising in low and middle income countries it said.

The study by Australia professors Wayne Hall and Louisa Degenhardt, is an overview of published research into cannabis use and impacts.

Hall and Degenhardt say that as a problem for public health, cannabis is “probably modest” compared with the burden from alcohol, tobacco and other illegal drugs.Even so, cannabis has a long list of suspected adverse health effects they warn.

They include the risk of dependence, car accidents,impaired breathing, damaged cardiovascular healtg, psychotic episodes and educational failure among teens who smoke the drug regularly. Around 9 percent of people who ever use cannabis become dependent on it, says the paper. By comparison, the risk of addiction for nicotine is 32 percent, 23 percent for heroin, 17 percent for cocaine and 15 percent for alcohol.

   “Acute adverse effects of cannabis use include anxiety and panic in naive( first time) users, and a probable increased risk of accidents if users drive while intoxicated” it says…

…Another area of concern is so-called “skunk”- extremely potent cannabis from plants selected to have higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the drugs active ingredient. Level’s of THC found in seized cannabis have risen in the past two decades, says the study. ” A hugh THC content can increase anxiety, depression and psychotic symptoms if regular users do not titrate(measure out) their dose.


On the Lancet site they also have an article on cannabis and Psychosis B ut you have to be registered to see it.

This website – The Medical Journal of Australia– has some interesting information also on cannabis and psychosis:

Cannabis and schizophrenia
  Does cannabis cause schizophrenia? Perhaps the more worrying question is whether cannabis causes chronic psychosis, particularly schizophrenia. The work of Andreasson and others examined this question in a cohort of male Swedish conscripts, followed up through a national psychiatric case register.16 They found that having used cannabis between one and 10 times at conscription increased the relative risk of schizophrenia to 1.3, the risk rising to 6.0 for those who had used cannabis on 50 or more occasions. However, this relative risk was reduced after adjustment for factors which independently contributed to the risk of schizophrenia. While this study provides some of the strongest evidence for a link between cannabis and psychosis, methodological concerns have been raised. These include the temporal gap between self-reported cannabis use at conscription and later schizophrenia, the potential confounding role of other substance use (particularly as amphetamines were a major drug of abuse during the study period), the adequacy of psychological assessment at conscription, and the reliability of self-reported drug use at conscription.3

Nevertheless, the association between cannabis use and schizophrenia is strengthened by studies which demonstrate that cannabis is widely used among people with schizophrenia. A recent study in Newcastle examined substance use in all outpatients with schizophrenia, finding 29.9% of subjects had some use of cannabis in their lifetime, with 7.7% and 28.3% of subjects having lifetime diagnoses of cannabis abuse and dependence, respectively.17 Notably, alcohol was more commonly used than cannabis, while amphetamines were the third most commonly used substance.

Te Iho Maori Mental Health training Programme

This is an excellent website that goes a long way to foster a better understanding in regards to the cultural and spiritual aspects of Maori people in regards to mental health. I will also place it in the links system for future reference.

Click on it here : Te Iho Maori Mental health Training Programme.

Here are some excerpts on Maori Cultural considerations

“Mate Mäori, for example, leads to an affliction said to be related to spiritual causes, and requires the intervention of a traditional healer, a tohunga. In Rapuora, the 1984 study of the health of Mäori women, one in every five women respondents said they would go to a Mäori traditional healer if they had a mate Mäori though not all knew who might be an appropriate healer, nor could one in five women say what was meant by mate Mäori.1  The term refers essentially to a cause of ill health or uncharacteristic behaviour which stems from an infringement of tapu (a tribal law) or the infliction of an indirect punishment by an outsider (a mäkutu).2  The prevalence of mate Mäori has never been recorded although there are published accounts of isolated cases of the condition and its management.3 It may take several forms, physical and mental, and various illnesses not necessarily atypical in presentation may be ascribed to it. 

While mate Mäori applies to physical as well as mental illnesses, increasingly it has become a focus to explain emotional, behavioural and psychiatric disorders, presumably because many physical illnesses are now seen as having a more specific cause. Thus there is no single clinical presentation and clinicians need to be alert to the possibility that relatives may have considered the possibility of mate Mäori. Most families will be reluctant to discuss mate Mäori in a hospital or clinic setting, fearing ridicule or pressure to choose between psychiatric and Mäori approaches. In fact, one approach need not exclude the other; cooperation between traditional Mäori healers and health professionals is now becoming acceptable to both groups. Mate Mäori does not mean there cannot be a coexisting mental disorder. At best, the term is a comment on perceived causes of abnormality rather than on the symptoms or behaviour which might emerge. Yet it remains a serious concept within modern Mäori society, and to many people, mate Mäori sounds more convincing than explanations that hinge on a biochemical imbalance or a defect in cerebral neurotransmission.

Other situational responses may present as if they were mental disorders. Whakamaa for example, a mental and behavioural response that arises when there is a sense of disadvantage or a loss of standing, can be manifest as a marked slowness of movement and a lack of responsiveness to questioning, as well as avoidance of any engagement with the questioner.A pained, worried look can add to a picture that is suggestive of depression or even a catatonic state. But the history is different and the onset is usually rapid – unlike those other conditions where a more gradual development occurs. Sometimes, because Mäori will often report seeing deceased relatives or hearing them speak, a diagnosis of schizophrenia or some other psychosis may be made. However, if visions or hearing voices are the only symptoms there is never a firm basis for diagnosing a serious mental disorder.”

Also on the site there is an interesting Excerpt from Mason Durries book “Tirohanga Maori”. See the full excerpt here

A brief quote from the link:

Illness And Treatment
Prior to 1976, professional and academic interest in Mäori perspectives on health and sickness tended to confine discussion to particular clinical syndromes which were unique to Maori and of anthropological as much as medical interest. Makutu and mate Mäori, for example, attracted considerable comment from Western-trained psychiatrists, though tended to be reinterpreted as superstitious phenomena and of doubtful diagnostic significance 3,4.  Mäori concepts of illness were increasingly reinterpreted by the medical anthropologists in mental and psychic realms, scarcely relevant to the vast majority of human illnesses and hardly applicable to contemporary times. It was left to Mäori writers to point out the continuing relevance of culture to illness and treatment, and to provide some balance for the more esoteric ideas which had appeared in the earlier medical and scientific literature. The process started with an examination of medical practice and hospital procedures to determine the significance of culture to Mäori patients in everyday situations. Durie concluded that, although Mäori were more often than not Westernized, or at least appeared to be, cultural heritage continued to shape ideas, attitudes, and reactions, particularly at times of illness. ‘The concepts of tapu and the perception of illness as an infringement against tapu are central to much of the anxiety and depression which surround the Mäori patient while in hospital. Family involvement at times of illness is likewise a very traditional and culturally necessary attitude which must be recognised in the management of the whole patient and not just his impaired organ.’ 5

The relationship between tapu and noa, and explanations of illness based on a postulated breach of tapu, continued to have meaning for Mäori and therefore had implications for doctors in the management of Mäori patients as well as the care of the deceased as long as they were still in hospital custody. Because early retrieval of a relative’s body was critical to uphold the mana of the family and the individual, mourning Mäori families were grossly offended if the body were not released within twenty-four hours of death. Post-mortem delays, or simple administrative inefficiencies, could add immeasurably to the grief of an already distressed family.

AT the bottom of the link above, there is a PDF of the entire chapter which can be downloaded.


Interesting concepts, I thought in particular how relevant cultural considerations are to health. There is the whare model of health. I hope you all enjoy looking through the site. I did.