“Oho Ake Mauri Ora” – Building Māori Capacity in Psychiatry

The Henry Rongomau Bennett Memorial Scholarship programme was instrumental in increasing numbers of practicing Māori psychiatrists, supporting 10 psychiatrists in total from 2002-2010.

The first Māori Psychiatric Registrars who received support from the Henry Rongomau Bennett Memorial Scholarship were (1) Hinemoa Elder (2) Donna Clarke (3) Mark Lawrence (4) Thomas Ricket (5) Cameron Lacey

In 2004 the first wananga of Māori Psychiatrists was held in Northland, facilitated by Moe Milne with Sylvia van Altvorst and Hinemoa Elder. This wananga provided the foundation to explore the issues for Māori working in the field of psychiatry. In 2007 a wananga in Rotorua brought together Māori Psychiatrists and Māori interested in training and working in psychiatry.  This wananga was branded “Oho Ake Mauri Ora” by Kaumatua Poiti Arama-Karaka Pirika.

A series of wananga and activities, supported by Phyllis Tangitu, Moe Milne and others occurred over the following years to support these critical Māori workforces with Māori communities, Māori issues, and purposely engage in a process of connecting Māori Psychiatrists with their whakapapa, turangawaewae and whānau.  

In 2015, Moe Milne facilitated a hui at Otiria Marae, with a broader audience, which highlighted the impact of Oho Ake Mauri Ora by Hinemoa Elder; Sylvia Van Altvorst and Diana Kopua- Rangihuna, and the need to revisit something similar for Māori Psychiatrists.  This was followed by a wananga in Whangarei in 2018, supported by Te Rau Matatini and RANZCP.