January 21, 2022
Mātauranga Māori may be the way to beat drowning stats
A third of 75 drowning in New Zealand last year were Māori.
Māori water safety expert Dr Chanel Phillips says this is an appalling tragedy and she’s got an answer.
She says it involves changing the focus of water safety education primarily aimed at teaching kids in swimming pools to a whole whānau approach understanding that Māori drowning are likely to happen in open water.
Then Māori oral narratives such as pūrākau (creation stories), mōteatea (chants), karakia (incantations), whakataukī (proverbs) and pepeha (tribal aphorisms) can be used to understand water safety from a Māori perspective.
Dr Phillips says it will be reinstating tikanga, all those practices around teaching our Māori tāne primarily around safe diving, but in a kaupapa Māori context.”
She says it’s about educating the family unit in open water environments that’s going to be relevant and contextualised from a Māori perspective so that it’s able to reach Māori whānau.