NEW ZEALAND: Indigenous suicide prevention resource first of its kind

February 19, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark News

Scoop Independent News

In December, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and Tīwhanawhana Trust released a new resource that provides information about suicide prevention, identity, and wellbeing related to takatāpui. “Takatāpui” is a traditional Māori word meaning “intimate companion of the same sex.” It has been adapted to embrace all Māori with diverse genders and sexualities. “Claiming takatāpui shows our pride in being Māori; connects us to our whakapapa and culture; and to our rainbow counterparts,” said Elizabeth Kerekere, chair of the Tīwhanawhana Trust. Takatāpui are at especially high risk of suicide because they experience the racism and health inequalities of being Māori and the stigma and discrimination of their sexual and gender orientations. The resource provides visibility for takatāpui and debunks myths. It is intended to help whānau (loosely translated as “extended family” or “community”) understand the takatāpui better so that whānau can create homes, services, churches, and schools that are safer for them. A series of videos featuring five takatāpui talking about their experiences is also going to be produced.

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