Women’s Refuge has 503 valued Māori workers, making up over 50% of the paid and unpaid workforce.

As part of our constitution, and in recognition of Māori as tangata whenua and our recognition of tino rangatiratanga, we are committed to parallel development. In short, this is an agreement between Māori and other cultures that enables each to develop domestic violence support services that are culturally appropriate and complementary.

Māori Whare

In 1987, Te Whakaruruhau, the first Māori Women’s Refuge, was established in Hamilton. Women’s Refuge now has 14 Māori whare offering services designed by Māori for Māori.

Māori whare apply kawa and tikanga of the mana whenua to their practice and delivery of services within the rōhe they operate.

The goals of Māori whare are:

  • the elimination of violence
  • promoting wellbeing of our whānau, hapū and iwi, and the communities in which we live
  • promoting mana Māori motuhake
  • designing and promoting kaupapa Māori models
  • promoting processes of transformation that liberate and inspire whānau, hapu and iwi to the goal of tino rangatiratanga in all facets of their spiritual, political, social and physical realities.

The values for Māori whare are:

Whakapapa It is kinship that determines the collectivity between whānau, hapū and iwi – a collective consciousness. It is the way in which we engage, so that the reciprocity and obligatory nature of whakapapa means that it can be used to create productive and enduring relationships to support change. Whakapapa informs a person about being a human, being of a culture, being of a place.

Whānaungatanga Tribal identity and cohesion enable Māori people to confidently interact. Whānaungatanga is what cements Māori, and embraces a collective responsibility. When functioning and applied properly, whānaungatanga ensures the wellbeing of an individual within a larger group. A nuclear family model is an alien concept for Māori.

Wairua The existence of the spiritual realm is fundamental to wellbeing from a Māori cultural frame of reference. Wairua is exercised through the practice of tapu.

Mauri Tau training programme

Women’s Refuge continues to develop services to enable whānau to work together to resolve and plan long-term solutions to domestic violence.

The Mauri Tau training programme is a framework to revitalise Māori values and beliefs. It offers an analysis of whānau violence and healing to sustain ora for whānau. Mauri Tau recognises that iwi already have the tools to obtain whānau ora from within, and aims to enhance their knowledge.

The programme emphasises harmony and keeping whānau intact – keeping mother and child together, and having families supporting women with their own plans for living free from violence.

Ma te huruhuru, ka rere te manu. 
Adorn the bird with feathers so that it can fly.