About Us

Our Beginning

Te Ao Māramatanga (College of Mental Health Nurses) is the professional body for practicing Mental Health Nurses in New Zealand. ( http://www.nzcmhn.org.nz/)

In 2010, at the biennial conference E Tū He Māori Koe hosted by Māori Caucus members of Te Ao Māramatanga (College of Mental Health Nurses in Aotearoa), the inspiration for an oral history project of Māori mental health nurses emerged.

A team of Māori caucus members was formed. Steering Group Members were; Maria Baker (Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa), Tio Sewell (Ngāti Maru, Te Arawa) and Hineroa Hakiaha (Tuhoe).

Project Team Members were; Ronald Baker (Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Porou), Patricia Siaosi (Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri), Jayne Isaacs (Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Porou, Ngai Tahu me Norway), Katrina Wahanui (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Urunumia, Ngāti Apakura, Ngāti Kahu, Nga Puhi), Donna Tearii (Ngāti Maniapoto), Reena Kainamu (Nga Puhi), and May Hart (Ngāti Hine, Ngapuhi).


  • To collect and record the oral histories of Māori mental health nurses who practiced between 1950 and 1990.
  • To develop a resource that would ensure the history, knowledge and experiences of Māori mental health nurses is preserved for future generations.


The team completed oral history and abstracting workshops with Taina Tangaere McGregor (Māori Oral History Advisor) Alexander Turnbull National Library. This connection resulted in an ongoing relationship with Taina, and additional guidance regarding oral history methods and styles of practice from a Māori perspective.

An induction manual was developed by Maria Baker for the project team which explained the interview, technical and ethical standards during the oral history project.

As part of the recruitment process, panui and information sheets were circulated by Te Ao Māramatanga seeking interested people to participate in this oral history project. A snowballing method assisted by the first five participants, helped with the subsequent recruitment process. Informed consent processes included oral history recording agreement forms and signed consents completed by participants. Individual files compiled of each participant included the interviewees biographical information, key contacts and information as it arrived.

Whanaungatanga was an important component of the interviews, often commencing with karakia, mihimihi and korero about where the participant was from, their whānau and whakapapa. Once the kaupapa of the interview was established, questions were prompted in a conversational method. When each interview was completed, the participant was informed of what would occur with it, in terms of storage, archiving and analysis. Copies of all data were downloaded, checked and stored on two hard drives to ensure back up and to prepare for abstracting and editing. Debriefing sessions occurred immediately following each interview to foster learning, reflection and to address areas for further development. Each interview was abstracted and transcribed. Video recordings were archived with Alexander Turnbull Library with restricted access placed on these to the steering group only, until further notice.

Accomplishments to Date

  • Conference Presentation: NOHANZ (National Oral History Association of NZ): The Gift of Memory, CQ Hotel, Cuba Str. Wellington, New Zealand (NZ) September, 2014.
  • Featured in the NOHANZ Oral History in New Zealand Annual Publication Volume 26, December, 2014.
  • Conference Presentation: Te Ao Māramatanga (College of Mental Health Nurses ) Fourth Biennial Wananga, Ki Te Ao Mārama-Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho, Makaurau Marae, Auckland, NZ, November 2014.
  • Conference Presentation: Whānau Ora: From Old to New. Te Ao Māramatanga (College of Mental Health Nurses) Conference, July, 2015, Te Papa, Wellington, NZ.
  • Dept. of Internal Affairs: Māori Leaders of Oral History Projects Forum, August, 2015 Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ.
  • Conference Presentation: Lessons for Indigenous Transformation of Mental Health Services: Healing our Spirit Worldwide, November 2015, Claudelands Centre, Hamilton, NZ.

Tributes to Timoti George and Robert (Bob) Elliott

Tuia Te Ao Mārama project team wishes to honour the memory of Timoti George and Bob Elliott who passed away in 2014 and 2016 respectively. We are deeply grateful for their contributions, and we are proud to know their interviews will be preserved in this oral history and the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Special Acknowledgements

Jack Lott Oral History Education Fund
Lotto Community Grants Board
Te Puni Kokiri (Waikato)
Ministry of Health (MOH)
Alexander Turnbull National Library of New Zealand
National Oral History Association of NZ (NOHANZ)
Manawanui Māori Mental Health Services (Auckland District Health Board)
Lakes District Health Board Mental Health Services
Te Whare Marie Māori Mental Health Services (Capital Coast District Health Board)
Rauawaawa Kaumatua Charitable Trust (Kirikiriroa)
Te Rūnanga o Kirikiriroa Trust (Kirikiriroa)
Membership of Te Ao Māramatanga Māori Caucus