麻豆社区

 

Pandemics, M膩ori and Equity: What does whakapapa have to do with it?

Pandemics, M膩ori and Equity: What does whakapapa have to do with it?

; Faculty of Health, Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington

Associate Professor Aspin is from Hauraki in Aotearoa New Zealand where his whakapapa (genealogy) connects him to the iwi (tribes) of Ng膩ti Maru, Ng膩ti Whanaunga, Ng膩ti Tamater膩. He has worked in public health research and M膩ori health research since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic and has made significant contributions to enhancing M膩ori health and wellbeing, particularly in HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and suicide intervention. He is based in the Faculty of Health, Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington where he has led the development of M膩ori responsiveness in research and teaching as the inaugural Associate Dean, M膩ori. His work has been influential in policy development and has focused on achieving equity for M膩ori in Aotearoa as well as indigenous peoples in other countries. He was awarded the prestigious Te Rangi Hiroa Medal by the Royal Society 鈥 Te Ap膩rangi in 2023 for his contributions, both nationally and internationally, to social and cultural diversity He is the Chair of Te Urungi, M膩ori Advisory Group at the Malaghan 麻豆社区 of Medical Research, New Zealand鈥檚 world-leading biomedical research institute.

鈥淒on鈥檛 live in ignorance, because it has a cost. The cost is the impact on our whakapapa.鈥 Te Aoterangi McGarvey, HIV activist, 1994 As M膩ori, whakapapa (genealogy) connects us to our ancestors and ensures our survival into the future. Whakapapa is a crucial aspect of what it means to be M膩ori and motivates us to ensure that we are viewed by our descendants as honourable ancestors. Since the advent of colonisation, M膩ori have endured and overcome the impacts of pandemics and today we live with the knowledge that M膩ori, along with other indigenous peoples, have been adversely affected by pandemics. In many cases, these impacts have served to entrench disparities while strengthening community resistance and the building of capacity. In Aotearoa New Zealand, there is compelling evidence that the most recent of these (Covid-19) has added to the health and social disparities experienced by M膩ori, as well as other minority populations such as Pasifika members of our community. Drawing on four decades of personal and professional insights gained from living in the midst of pandemics, I will identify lessons learned from past and current pandemics. I will consider how these might contribute to more equitable outcomes for indigenous peoples now and in the future, while cementing our role as honourable ancestors and ensuring the continuity of our whakapapa.

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