According to the He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, while the prevalence of mental distress among Māori is almost 50% higher than among non-Māori, Māori are 30% more likely than other ethnic groups to have their mental illness undiagnosed.
Dedicated to changing these staggering statistics is this week’s guest Jean Te Huia - a mother, grandmother, wife, sister, and woman extremely proud of her Māori heritage.
As one of 9 children, Jean left school at age 16 with minimal education in 1973 and went into nursing, boarding at a nursing home in Hastings with other nursing students. She was 1 of only 5 Māori nursing students in a class of 30 students.
Over the years, Jean completed a Bachelor of Nursing and midwifery training. She has been a midwife and registered nurse for over 30 years. After completing midwifery training, Jean became the founder of CHOICES, a Māori Service Provider, in 1995.
CHOICES services today include Kaupapa Māori birthing, pre-school early childcare, sexual and reproductive health care, school-based nursing, health promotion and screening, counselling and prisoner re-integration and rehabilitation. They have over 80 staff and contract to the government and provide free nursing services to our Māori communities.
Jean believes the real cause of Indigenous problems is colonisation, and that as a result, Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa continue to suffer with higher statistics proof in an over-representation in prisons, mental health institutes, dead and dying, homelessness and poverty. This, Jean believes, is a direct result of the failure of the New Zealand Government to respond positively and appropriately to Indigenous needs.
Join us this week as Jean and I discuss the impact of colonisation and how it changed the way of life for Māori people in Aotearoa.