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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/practice-approach/practice-standards/whakamana-te-tamaiti-practice-empowering-tamariki-maori/whakamana-te-tamaiti-practice-empowering-tamariki-maori-guidance/
Printed: 18/07/2024
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Last updated: 08/11/2017

Whakamana te tamaiti: Practice empowering tamariki Māori — guidance

I will apply the principles of Mana Tamaiti, Whakapapa and Whanaungatanga to my practice, in order to ensure I’m responsive to tamariki and whānau Māori.

I will know I've achieved this standard when...

Whakamana te tamaiti: practice empowering tamariki Māori focuses on actively supporting, promoting and advancing the mana of te tamaiti Māori. Mana refers to the power, potential, honour, prestige, authority, self-esteem and influence of te tamaiti Māori (the Māori child or young person).

This standard is underpinned by three key areas for practice: mana tamaiti, whakapapa, and whanaungatanga.

  • Mana tamaiti recognises that every tamaiti has their own mana. The mana of te tamaiti should be able to flourish and be evident and active as they live and grow in any healthy whānau or caregiving family, no matter how the whānau is constructed.
  • Neglect, abuse, loss of attachments, lack of safety, security and unmet needs for love and belonging are experiences that may violate the tapu of te tamaiti (the personal sacredness of the child or young person) and trample on and diminish their personal mana.
  • These circumstances may be traumatic for te tamaiti. Those close to te tamaiti, including other whānau members, may also suffer trauma and damage as a result of their own challenging circumstances. This creates a complex system of needs for healing for te tamaiti and also their whānau. Within this however, it is critical to recognise and support their potential and to find strengths and areas where there is resilience, as these will be catalysts for change.
  • Our role as practitioners is to support the healing, growth and restoration of the mana and tapu of te tamaiti, working supportively and insightfully with their whānau and those within their community. The journey to oranga for te tamaiti is ultimately sustained through the journey towards oranga for the whānau and community.
  • Whakapapa (the blood lines and genealogical ties to a common ancestor for te tamaiti) and whanaungatanga (purposeful relationships) are key mechanisms for practice to support the healing, growth and restoration of the mana and tapu of te tamaiti.
  • Whakapapa ensures that tamariki Māori have a connection with their bloodline (multi-generational kinship ties). This reinforces belonging as a critical consideration when working with tamariki Māori. Not knowing ones whakapapa and being placed without clear connections to bloodlines can be an added traumatic experience for those engaged with Oranga Tamariki.
  • Whanaungatanga is based on building meaningful and purposeful relationships with tamariki Māori and all networks of support. If these relationships are not in depth or nurtured consistently over time, the cycle of trauma will continue to impact on te tamaiti in terms of their sense of connectedness, identity and belonging

More detailed support for working effectively with and for tamariki Māori, whānau Māori, hapu, iwi and Māori communities is available in Te Toka Tūmoana and other resources available on Te Pae. You can also use cultural supervision to support your knowledge and development of practice in these areas.

Te Toka Tūmoana

I will know I have achieved this standard when:

I have identified with te tamaiti their strengths, needs and attributes in order to enhance their mana and cultural identity

  • All tamariki are born with mana motuhake - their own unique essence or life-force. Their mana incorporates their identity, who they are and where they are from. Mana is bestowed on every tamaiti by Atua (ancestral whakapapa) and it is a birth right to be loved and cared for.
  • Mana manifests itself positively within te tamaiti as a personal intrinsic power, as honour, potential, prestige, authority, self-esteem and influence. As well as being a gift from Atua, the mana of te tamaiti also comes from whakapapa (the blood lines and genealogical ties to a common ancestor for te tamaiti) and their relationships through whanaungatanga (purposeful relationships with others).
  • In supporting the mana of te tamaiti, consider how your practice might do the following:
    • Enhance the dignity, power, authority, self-respect, self-esteem and level of influence that te tamaiti has on their circumstances and decisions being made for their own lives.
    • Foster resilience or attachment to whānau for te tamaiti.
    • Support te tamaiti and/or their whānau to take charge of their destiny.
  • You can also support te tamaiti and the development of their mana by enabling them to have ongoing opportunities to voice and identify those things that are impacting on their health and wellbeing. Some examples of questions you may reflect on in this area of practice include:
    • What is stopping te tamaiti from making good decisions and speaking out (power)?
    • How might they better express their uniqueness (honour)?
    • What makes te tamaiti feel good about who they are (prestige)?
    • How can we support te tamaiti to reach their full potential and exceed in what they’re good at (self-esteem and authority)?
    • How can we ensure that they are actively participating in determining their outcomes (level of influence)?
  • As you engage with te tamaiti, help them to identify their strengths, areas of resilience and achievements, no matter how small these may seem to te tamaiti. This is part of restoring their mana, and a belief and self-worth about the value one has as te tamaiti. Let te tamaiti describe what they know about themselves as individuals. What does te tamaiti see as their key strengths and qualities? How do others describe their strengths and qualities?
  • As part of supporting te tamaiti, it is important to provide an opportunity for them to speak about their whānau. How does te tamaiti describe their whānau? Are there key characteristics and or significant events in the whānau that have come down through the generations? What is their role, contribution or experience of being a part of this whānau? How might that influence strengthening their mana and voice?
  • Consider how you can use these contributions from te tamaiti in developing a plan with them and in setting goals that will assist them in their journey towards oranga. Support them to take a sense of ownership and self-determination with their plan, as this can help te tamaiti to reclaim their mana and confidence, as part of their healing.

I have advocated for te tamaiti, ensuring they receive the Māori cultural support and encouragement they need to achieve their long term outcomes

  • It is important to include the positive contribution of whānau and friends and all others who support te tamaiti in the restoration of their mana. Their positive contribution is critical as part of the community of support and healing for te tamaiti. Their input in identifying the strengths of te tamaiti can really boost the confidence and sense of support they feel. Their provision of support for te tamaiti is part of activating the power within whanaungatanga – purposeful relationships that bring healing and support to te tamaiti in their journey.
  • As part of the plan led by te tamaiti, it is important to advocate and include the contribution of their own whānau, hapū and iwi in its construction. Consider the ways in which you may be able to facilitate their input. Whānau, hapū and iwi may take specific support roles in ensuring that te tamaiti achieves their long terms outcomes within their plans, including giving Māori cultural support and opportunities for development.
  • Services provided by government and non-government providers outside of whānau and iwi may also be needed to help te tamaiti to achieve the goals within their plan, and you may have to advocate for this when needed. As part of your practice to support the mana and development of te tamaiti, consider how you might advocate for the needs of te tamaiti when engaging with other services.

I have supported te tamaiti to be proud of being Māori

  • Part of restoring a sense of pride and mana for te tamaiti lies in acknowledging and valuing their cultural heritage and identity. This begins as you engage te tamaiti and respectfully acknowledge their cultural context and identity in ways that are comfortable for them.
  • This includes pronouncing their name and whānau names correctly. You may also need to consider cultural protocols as part of your engagement, including opening and closing meetings with whānau in ways that are comfortable for them. This may include karakia and other common cultural protocols for meeting together.
  • Other aspects of actively engaging, acknowledging and nurturing te tamaiti to be proud to be Māori includes supporting them to learn more about their whakapapa, tūpuna, their elders and current Māori role models and so on.
  • Other activities you may be able to engage in to support your own learning and to support te tamaiti to be proud to be Māori, might include attending significant Māori community activities such as sports or school based activities, Māori celebrations, kapa haka performances, tangi and other similar events.

I have identified and engaged whānau, hapū and iwi members to participate in decision making for te tamaiti

  • In learning about the cultural identity of te tamaiti, identifying and engaging with immediate whānau in the first instance will help encourage participation in decision making for their tamaiti. This can also lead to engagement with wider whānau support networks, hapū and where appropriate, iwi and non-government Māori organisations in the communities that te tamaiti and whānau reside in.
  • As practitioners, you will sometimes need to think about your approach or seek support from others who know the whānau if they are reluctant to engage or don’t understand why sharing information about the whānau, hapū and iwi of te tamaiti is important.
  • As part of your engagement understanding the roles and positions that whānau members have is important so that you can recognise if they are engaging with you as whānau, hapū or iwi members. For example, a great aunty of te tamaiti may also be the kuia (the female elder) for the whānau as a whole. This elevates her status and determines how you should be engaging with her, as this is a position of specific leadership, oversight and decision-making within the whānau.

I have facilitated and strengthened te tamaiti connection to their whakapapa (significant people, places, cultural values)

  • In connecting te tamaiti to their whakapapa, a useful activity is ‘people mapping’ with te tamaiti and their whānau. This helps you to familiarise yourself with the key people from the whānau, hapū, iwi and community of te tamaiti. This will in turn help you to connect te tamaiti to their tikanga and the unique characteristics of their own hapū and iwi.
  • In connecting te tamaiti to their whakapapa, you are supporting te tamaiti to know where they come from, to know the name of their marae, their maunga, their awa, their roto, their moana, their papakāinga and their mana whenua.
  • You may need the expertise and guidance of Māori colleagues and those skilled with whakapapa searching to assist with this process. You may also need advice around specific characteristics and tikanga for particular iwi. Make sure you connect in with this as it can be an enriching opportunity for your own professional and personal learning and development.
  • Some areas of relevant learning include developing an understanding of tikanga-a-iwi (protocols/ways of doing things and cultural values/beliefs specific to iwi) and the stories and histories of specific iwi that are relevant to identified regions and areas where te tamaiti may come from or go to.
  • Part of strengthening connections for te tamaiti to their whānau includes facilitating enduring relationships for te tamaiti with their whānau, hapū and iwi. You will need to consider what will enhance secure attachments for te tamaiti to their whānau and whakapapa.
  • This includes gaining an understanding about the whānau and who is identifiable as safe and stable in providing care and support for te tamaiti. Also consider how you might prioritise the maintenance of te tamaiti relationships with their whānau over time. Consider and support caregivers of te tamaiti to understand and practice the importance of keeping the birth whānau and te tamaiti connected, even if they are not able to return to the full care of birth whānau.

I have spoken with te tamaiti and facilitated relevant use of te reo Māori me ona tikanga (cultural practices) to support respectful engagement and meaningful relationship building with them and their whānau networks

  • It is important to recognise and value the importance of forming a relationship with te tamaiti from the onset. The strength of this relationship overtime will influence and determine outcomes for te tamaiti.
  • It is important that te tamaiti is an active contributing member to the relationship you build together. Te tamaiti should feel able to tell you what they expect of you as part of the relationship. Do they understand the purpose of your role, how often you will meet with them and others that are involved?
  • Ensure you engage with te tamaiti and other relevant whānau or support people to determine the best means to progress developing your relationship with them. These relationships will develop purposefully as part of the whanaungatanga you are bringing into your practice to support te tamaiti. Consider how you use whānau hui or hui ā-whānau.

I have had ongoing conversations with key people, to understand the whānau dynamics and the impact on te tamaiti

  • Understanding the whānau dynamics within whānau and communities requires conversations and engagement. It requires studying and researching information about whānau and then having the confidence to ask te tamaiti, key whānau members, hapū, iwi and community people for more information.
  • As you engage people for information, it’s important to think about what you can give back to te tamaiti, whānau, hapū, iwi and community for all their support in your work with them. Think about whether what you are doing is positively changing, maintaining and strengthening relationships between te tamaiti and their whānau, hapū, iwi, community, peers and support networks.