Growing the Puna Report | Samantha Kamariera

Ko Samantha Kamariera toku ingoa. 

My project was based on exploring an understanding of Māori systems approaches- what it is and what it means for my future. My report includes who I am, my literature view, Māori health models and frameworks, and the findings of my research.

As I started my project, I realized that Google was no help as there was no ’one’ answer. This topic is broad and with an open-ended question of What a māori systems approach is, the additional questions came with it. This was overwhelming and something I could not get my head around until after my interviews were completed. There was not going to be just one answer to this question, and this question had questions. 

My interviews gave me the insight I needed to answer this question as each person had a different perspective on what a Māori systems approach meant to them. Māori health in New Zealand is slowly becoming more available through the likes of ACC, and in education through kapa haka now being a part of the NCEA curriculum. During one of my interviews, the interviewee said “the Māori systems approach is looking directly at what those measures of success are first from our world view and then tailoring it to achieve it. A Westernised community does the opposite”. They also stated “in order to implement change, a co-design relationship is needed.” 

I was unable to make any recommendations to them to use in schools as Māori systems approaches are significantly about co-design which they also stated, and without that relationship already implemented in a Westernised school it is hard to make changes unless you are someone of power. In the conclusion of this report, there is not just one answer to this question, but that a Māori systems approach is a voice for Māori.

My experience throughout this internship has been one to remember. I believe my experience over this summer has created an increased interest in Māori health and made me that much more thankful for being able to work within this health sector. 

Our first day meeting in Auckland and going to Rotorua were unfortunately the only times we got together as a group apart from zoom. Our haerenga ki Rotorua was the perfect example of putting what we have learned into practice within this internship. After learning about the maramataka at the beginning of the internship, the teachings surrounding our visit to Okere falls in Rotoiti, and Māketu within the Ngāti Pikiao area have been eye-opening. Waiting for the dark of night, we ventured out into the forest to hunt and further into Lake Rotoiti to catch freshwater koura. After about three hours in the water, and with only two freshwater koura in hand, we spoke of there being an earthquake earlier in the day and of the phase and placing of the moon being influencing factors to this. Both were prime examples of the māramataka. 

Having the opportunity to put what we had learned into practice felt rewarding and has made me want to continue to do so. A lot of research, conversations, mixed emotions and time have been put into this internship. This experience was an eye-opener in many areas, not only from the physical activities we took part in but also the learnings from the other intern’s topic and the teachings from Renei, Ranginui, and Haylee. I have been privileged to learn and experience things I did not know of and had not experienced before this internship and I will be forever thankful to Toi Tangata for this.

Samantha Kamariera wearing a black tshirt, standing in front of a black and white Toi Tangata banner
Samantha Kamariera
(Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri)

Samantha Kamariera is recent graduate of the University of Waikato with a degree in sports performance, Sam was a member of Toi Tangata’s Growing The Puna Internship programme for 2020-2021.