Māori grandparents speak from the heart in new Families Commission publication

Thursday 1 November 2012, 10:00AM
By Families Commission | Kōmihāna ā Whānau

Māori grandparents’ experiences are shared in a new publication released by the Families Commission today.

The Commission’s Chief Māori Advisor, Dr Kathie Irwin, says the report, Tupuna - Nga Kaitiaki Mokopuna: A resource for Māori grandparents, provides a special opportunity to hear the voices of Māori grandparents.  She says, “Our research conducted with grandparents has provided us with some valuable insights, from the perspective of Māori grandparents, in their own words.”

Dr Irwin says “Māori grandparents almost all say they find it enjoyable and satisfying to spend time with their mokopuna.”

“They also raised some important considerations, which could be useful to wanānga, wharekura, marae and other organisations who work with Māori.”

“Some of the issues discussed were the barriers of distance and time, their desire to understand their grandchildren better, the distress some of them feel when relationships break down and the need to balance competing pressures.”

Dr Irwin says it is important to note that Māori grandparents have both dependent children and grandchildren, as well as caring for elderly whānau, which may result in multiple demands upon their time.

The Families Commission would like to see more recognition of the many roles that Māori grandparents can have and an acknowledgement of the support they may need in order to fulfil these roles.

Dr Irwin says, “Many of the participants in this research said they valued the opportunity to share and hear from other grandparents and more opportunities to connect with others would be welcome.”

She says, “Māori grandparents have unique roles within whānau, particularly in the transmission of language, culture, whānau, hapu and iwi histories.”

The qualitative research was led by Dr Cherryl Waerea-i-te-rangi Smith, Ngati Apa, Kahungunu, Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ngai Tahu who is Co-Director of Te Atawhai o te Ao: Independent Maori Research Institute for Environment and Health, based in Whanganui.


If you would like to read the Tupuna - Nga Kaitiaki Mokopuna: A resource for Māori grandparents report please follow the link to the Families Commission website: