Te Aka Whai Ora has increased funding to kaupapa Māori suicide prevention services across the motu to strengthen their important role in building resilience within hapū, hapori and whānau Māori to reduce the impacts of suicide on communities.

It has almost tripled its investment in Kia Piki Te Ora Kaupapa Māori Suicide Prevention Services, going from $1.6million in the 21/22 financial year to $4.3million in the 23/24 financial year.

Indigenous suicide rates have escalated over the past two decades and continue to exceed national rates.

Te Aka Whai Ora Maiaka Tau Piringa, Deputy Chief Executive, Service Development Jade Sewell says that “suicide and suicidal behaviour disproportionately affects some groups in Aotearoa more than others, including tāne, Māori and rangatahi aged 15-24 years. Māori rates of suicide each year are persistently twice the number of suicides as non-Māori.”

“This is why sustained investment in kaupapa Māori suicide prevention services is essential,” she says. “And why Te Aka Whai Ora is committed to partnering with hauora Māori partners to promote wellbeing among whānau.”

“But it’s not just the money, Te Aka Whai Ora is implementing new ways of commissioning services including through locally lead co-design with our hauora Māori partners,” she says.

“The development of tailored services recognises that whānau bereaved by suicide, people with lived experience and those delivering services are experts on what whānau and hāpori need.”

“Funding was allocated based on the prevalence of Māori population, suicide, and self-harm presentations, with an adjustor for rurality to ensure services are available across Aotearoa,” says Jade.

Kia Piki Te Ora programmes are based on Te Ao Māori approaches and learning experiences to increase people’s ability to overcome social, mental challenges and enhance wairua.

“Kia Piki Te Ora is aimed at health promotion and building resiliency within hapū, hapori and whānau Māori to reduce the impacts of suicide on communities. This includes approaches that are consistent with mātauranga Māori and whānau/hapori led solutions to wellbeing. Services are varied and tailored to each rohe,” Jade says.

World Suicide Prevention Day is on 10 September. Suicide prevention is a priority of the Oranga Hinengaro work programme at Te Aka Whai Ora. This investment aligns to and delivers on Te Pae Tata (Interim New Zealand Health Plan) actions to construct suicide prevention approaches with mātauranga Māori approaches to reduce the rate of suicide and suicidal behaviour.

“Improving suicide prevention services for Māori reduces the impact of suicide and suicidal ideation not only on Māori, but for all people within Aotearoa,” says Jade.