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Caring for our wisdom bearers: Pacific Matua (Elder) care

36 months
Approved budget:
Associate Professor Siautu Alefaio
Health issue:
Proposal type:
Pacific Health Project
Lay summary
Research in Aotearoa-New Zealand shows the value and importance of Pacific Matua (Elders) in families, churches, and communities. They are not considered separate to one’s family and are the most respected individuals within aiga (family) given their valuable roles as advisors, holders of wisdom and traditional knowledge, protectors of family genealogy and healers of social issues. Caring for Matua within Pacific society is maintained by traditional practices of intergenerational kinship care and multiple systemic living. Migration, new housing, work and living arrangements have created many challenges in maintaining Elder-care. Research remains sparse regarding family, community care and wellbeing of Pacific Matua. However, the Elder population is increasing, and numbers are likely to grow rapidly in the next few decades. Drawing on psychology, nursing and social work a Pacific health-collective approach explores Elder-care practices of Pacific families to understand the health and wellbeing implications borne by carers.