Whai ora – Ma-ori health
In 1986 a seminal government report, Puao te Ata Tu (The Report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on a Ma-ori Perspective for the Department of Social Welfare) was released (Department of Social Welfare [DSW], 1986). This report was to infl uence major change in New Zealand social work practice and was the culmination of widespread criticism of several government departments, DSW in particular, noting a monocultural approach to policy and service delivery that was described as institutional racism. The commission, charged with the investigation into the
alleged racism, travelled the length of the country and met with Ma-ori families and communities. The themes that emerged were consistent and were described as ngeri (a litany of sound). This ‘sound’ was a euphemism for families across the country expressing their anger and disappointment at the way they believed staff at the DSW had treated them. Several important recommendations emerged, which remain as relevant today for health and social service providers as they were nearly 30 years ago when the report was developed.