Practical Approaches to the Pōwhiri Poutama Framework

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

What we’re talking about:
Practical Approaches to the Pōwhiri Poutama Framework

Hoani Watene and Brett Mataira of Hauora Tairāwhiti gave us an insight of how the Pōwhiri Poutama framework (1991) can operate in practice, through their work in the Tairāwhiti district health area for 14-19 year olds.

Many New Zealanders are aware of Pōwhiri, an important Māori ritual of greeting and understanding. Less well known is ‘Poutama’, which refers to a stairway design commonly seen in tukutuku (weaved lattice) panels on the walls and ceiling in decorated houses.

In Māori culture, many ICAMH/AOD clients can be considered as separated or detached, positioning them as tangata whaiora. Marae protocol positions tangata whaiora as tapu (his or her potentiality is restricted), an individual’s status before being called to pōwhiri. As such the Pōwhiri Poutama framework for counselling, is a meta-map for the task of scaffolding across a developmental phase or therapy (Drury, 2007).

Watene explained that through the seven stages of the framework (Karakia, Mihi, Whakapuaki, Whakatangi, Whakarata, Whakaora and Whakaoti), there can be effective communication with youth via a relationship on personal, social and spiritual levels. Watene suggests grounding oneself (Karakia) before a meeting and a simple mihi of ‘Kia Ora’ can be both practical and simple. Watene also opens with three Whakatauki (Proverbs) and a warm up or intro inviting the ancestors to take care of us.

“Let the philosophy drive the model” Watene recommends, noting that the original message of Marae ancestors is to share our experiences of one another. Reconnection within addiction work is paramount he adds, and embracing the cultural identities of our Māori youth can make all the difference.

For more, follow the below link to Drury’s research:
Drury, N. (2007). A Pōwhiri Poutama Approach to Therapy. New Zealand Journal Of Counselling, 27(1), 9-20.


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