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Te Roro

Empowering whānau Māori to maintain or improve brain health throughout their lifespans, with emphasis on mātauranga Māori

Research Team

  • Dr Rāwiri Tinirau
  • Morgan Tupaea
  • Connor Pauro
  • Whatahoro Cribb-Fox
  • Dr Takirirangi Smith
  • Dr Andre McLachlan
  • Dr Cherryl Smith
  • Brigham Anderson
  • Hine Maraku

Te Roro: A Mātauranga Māori study is a research project that approaches brain health in a holistic way, placing emphasis on mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), and being led by Māori for the benefit of Māori. It will draw on traditional sources such as whakairo (carvings), karakia (prayers and incantations), mōteatea (chanted song-poetry), and other sources to understand how Māori view brain health and well-being.

Most research in New Zealand has contributed to western frameworks and treatments for brain conditions such as dementia, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and neurodiversity. In contrast, Māori have a holistic view of health and Te Roro seeks to address this, utilising kaupapa Māori methods to explore brain health and well-being. The research team includes mātauranga Māori experts who are embedded and trusted in the communities they serve.

This innovative study puts traditional Māori methods, such as wānanga, whakairo, and whaikōrero, on an even footing with the outputs of western academic science.

Te Atawhai o Te Ao, an independent Māori institute for health and environment, will lead this research, utilising their extensive knowledge and networks to facilitate a merging of Indigenous knowledge and western science.

The long-term outcome of Te Roro study is to empower whānau Māori to maintain or improve brain health throughout their lifespans. The research aims to contribute to a revival of mātauranga Māori on the brain, as well as conceptualisations and re-conceptualisations of the brain and the body from a mātauranga Māori perspective.

The research is currently ongoing.