Whānau have the ability to help one another to stay healthy (emotionally, physically and spiritually) which can be a key factor in avoiding or working through feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts.

When you are with whānau


Listen to them. Let them know that you care and are there for them if they need someone to talk to.


Encourage a whānau member who is stressed to take a break and try to relax. Take time to create, meditate or exercise.


Focus on strengths and skills.  Encourage whānau to engage in activities they enjoy.


Encourage whānau to get connected with friends or whanau. Encourage supportive relationships.


Motivate whānau to set goals and follow their dreams.


Promote healthy behaviours such as eating nutritious meals and exercising.


Te Pae Ora provides a platform for Māori to live with good health and wellbeing in an environment that  supports a good quality of life.  Pae ora is holistic and includes three interconnected elements:

  1. Mauri Ora: Healthy individuals
  2. Whānau Ora: Healthy families
  3. Wai Ora: Healthy environments

Sir Mason Durie at the launch of He Korowai Oranga – Māori Health Strategy

In this lecture Sir Mason Durie considered the future developments of Māori health in a rapidly changing world where indigenous aspirations and strengthened Māori capability interact with technological innovation, demographic transitions and capability development. He concludes that Māori health will be a function of Māori determination and know-how and sees a growing role for whānau in increasing health. 


While the causes of suicide are many and complex, it is clear that a collective effort is required to reduce all suicide rates in New Zealand as well as insisting on a targeted approach that is culturally and generationally appropriate. Suicide Prevention is about actionintervention and strategies that take into account Māori historical context, social networks, culture, whānau and community resources.

An alignment to the values and orientation of Māori culturally-tailored methods of delivery and collaborative partnerships are important to increase the reach across whānau and communities. Te Au believes that through focusing on wellnessMāori ways of being and positively working together, we can counteract or manage feelings of suicide or depression.


Protective Factors

Protective factors are conditions or attributes in individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that can lessen or eliminate the risk of suicide among whānau, hapū, iwi, families and communities. Where protective factors are developed we increase the health, well-being and resilience of whānau, hapū, iwi, families and communities.

Personal Protective Factors

  • Self-esteem and a sense of belonging 
  • Goal setting
  • Having a secure identity 
  • Hopefulness 
  • Having a positive outlook on life 
  • Positive relationships and good social support 
  • Supportive whānau, hapū and iwi connections 
  • Positive community support 
  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution and positive ways of dealing with disputes and challenges 
  • Having a positive sense of responsibility for others 
  • Cultural/spiritual/religious beliefs that support self preservation.

Cultural Protective Factors

  • Understanding Māori concepts
  • Strengthening of cultural identity 
  • Access to cultural resources
  • Reconnect and maintain connections to whānau, hapū, iwi, and or communities
  • Māori perspectives into suicide prevention programmes
  • Use outcome measures appropriate to the Māori world view and experiences.

Drawing on Existing Expertise and Experience

  • Recognise suicidal behaviours/actions early and support whānau to get help early 
  • Access to services that are culturally relevant and appropriate 
  • Encourage whānau participation and value whānau members’ contributions 
  • Competent assessment processes 
  • Services that value and promote the dignity and safety of the whānau and the whānau member 
  • Ongoing education programmes in place for whānau and their whānau member.

Supporting Whānau after Loss

Whānau always come first
Respecting the wishes and privacy of whānau who have lost a loved one to suicide should always be the central concern. 

Involving whānau who have had a loss to suicide, is crucial to any postvention or support process offered by helpers and will ensure there is sensitivity to their wishes and preferences. 

Mobilising Awhi
Following the loss to suicide, whānau can be in shock, yet expected to cope with immediate and ongoing concerns afterward.   It is important if you are going to support whānau,  to find ways over time to reach out to them to increase chances for awhi.  It is also important that awhi offered is well informed about effective supports and services that can be available to whānau.

Looking for ways to support wellness? Download the Manaaki Ora app.