Conference Session: Waka Oranga Presentation

Details of Conference Session: Friday 11th February 2.00 – 3.30pm
A: Waka Oranga Presentation – Toni Shepherd and Wiremu Woodard

NOT home is sometimes when we start.
The colonisation of ‘home’ – Aotearoa, New Zealand is motivated by the acquisition of land and natural resources. As more land is acquired indigenous peoples are driven further from a symbiotic relationship with the ‘home-land’, an indigenous worldview and ultimately their ‘selves’. The consequences of these disruptions have profound psychological effects.

This workshop will be exploring the idea that ‘home’ is a social construct that reflects the reality of the dominant group. As indigenous peoples our idea of ‘home’ is repudiated and subjugated resulting in dislocation, marginalisation and discrimination with the intention of maintaining the dominant cultural home.

Weaving through concepts of Indigenous parenting, decolonisation, tangata whenua, state housing, raupatu, premature babies, Maungapohatu and spirituality we arrive at how we as health practitioners can unlock our therapeutic paradigm. The essential inclusion of historical, socio-political and environmental elements opens us to the possibility of clearly seeing indigenous psychological issues in their whole context rather than locating dysfunction within the indigenous person.

Wiremu Woodard and Toni Shepherd are parents of four tamariki. As indigenous community therapists and activists they work with the effects of colonisation on indigenous peoples, working towards reducing health disparities and social inequality. Wiremu currently works in a community practice (Kereru Psychotherapy Services) and lectures on the psychotherapy programme at A.U.T. Toni also works at Kereru and on the Consult Liaison Psychiatry Team at Starship Children’s Hospital. They are founding members of Waka Oranga a group of indigenous health practitioners concerned with emancipatory freedom.