Wha–nau ko–pepe: a culturally appropriate and family focused approach to support for young Ma–ori (Indigenous) parents


  • Felicity Jane Rachel Ware


Indigenous knowledge, young parents, research approach


Young indigenous parents resiliently raise children despite ill-founded stigmatisation. The problems arising from pregnancy while young, intertwine with culture and contribute to poor outcomes and hinder provision of appropriate support.

The historical impacts of colonisation and urbanisation on family composition and intergenerational support and knowledge of childrearing, aid in the explanation of the current disadvantages associated with young indigenous parents. An exploration of Māori (indigenous to Aotearoa New Zealand) perspectives of procreation and concepts of whānau (family, to birth) and childrearing values provide a cultural understanding of childrearing. This paper proposes an approach to conducting research with young Māori parents that confronts the complex challenge of being Māori, being young and being a parent. Being able to understand the actual lived experiences, needs and aspirations of young Māori parents will be invaluable for informing policy, research, practice and services that enhance their health and wellbeing and that of their children.


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