Passing on: learning more about death and dying

A University of Waikato researcher says we don’t know enough about dying, death and bereavement among Māori today, and she’s seeking participants for a study to help fill the gaps in our knowledge. Dr Tess Moeke-Maxwell is embarking on a three-year research project to gather information on Māori families’ experiences of death and dying, and the processes associated with end of life.

The aim of the Kia Ngawari study is to increase knowledge and understanding of Māori experiences of living with a life-threatening condition and contemporary Māori palliative needs, both within the healthcare system and among whānau.

“There’s been a lot of interest and inquiry about Kia Ngawari both from health professionals and from family members of individuals with a life-threatening illness,” says Dr Moeke-Maxwell.

Word-of-mouth referrals have put her in touch with several participants for her study of the end-of-life phase, which involves face-to-face interviews with individuals and their family members.

Dr Moeke-Maxwell hopes to identify and interview up to 30 end of life whānau living in Waikato and South Auckland, and complete up to eight full case studies.

She will be working with two noted Waikato academics. Associate Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora is the founding Director of the Māori and Psychological Research Unit, and Professor Ngahuia Awekotuku (CNZM) of the School of Māori and Pacific Development is an eminent cultural, arts and heritage researcher.

Both are currently directing the Tangihanga research programme at Waikato University, of which Kia Ngawari is one study.