Events

Systems Thinking and Mātauranga Māori

Date: Tuesday 14 September 
Time: 4.30pm - 6.30pm
Venue: Online via Zoom

Our health system has, at its centre, the concept of being patient-centred.  While not denying that health is about improving the health and wellbeing of people, maybe it is not the patient that needs to be at the centre of our thinking and our models of care. In Mātauranga Māori and in Systems Thinking, the individual does not exist in isolation of their context.  While both perspectives have different ways of describing this context, they both agree that to really help ‘patients’, we need to have much richer concepts driving our work that simply to be 'patient-centred'. 

In this seminar David and Ihi will share with you their experiences in bringing together the combined wisdoms of the System Sciences and Mātauranga Māori. With initial funding from the Johns Hopkins Global Obesity Centre they have worked in a number of communities and schools to explore health and wellbeing through the combined lenses of Mātauranga Māori and Systems Thinking. 

David and Ihi will talk about the work they have done, the links between Mātauranga Māori, and the System Sciences, what they have learnt in applying both in different contexts and the practical insights they can provide for those trying to improve the practice and outcomes of health services in New Zealand.

About the presenters

Dr David Rees is a founding partner of Synergia Ltd, a research and consultancy organisation based in Auckland, Wellington and Sydney. Within Synergia, David’s work focuses on the application of systems methods to issues within the health, social services and energy sectors. Since the early 80’s David has studied the breadth of the System Sciences and brings his combined interests in qualitative and quantitative systems methods to assist in areas such as policy, research, strategy, process improvement, and service design in health, social services and energy. 

David met Ihi in 2015 and since then has developed a growing interest in the interweaving of systems sciences, Mātauranga Māori and other 'traditional wisdoms' to find more equitable, sustainable and effective means of intervening in and improving our world.

Dr Ihirangi Heke, of Waikato-Tainui descent, was raised in the South Island mountain adventure environment of Queenstown, before it was popularly known as such. Over the past 10 years he has been active in helping Māori and other indigenous groups abroad, build their own health and wellness activities based on their traditional environmental knowledge. Dr Heke was awarded a research grant to compare Systems Science and Whakapapa (Maori Genealogical Connections) by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and retains an Honorary Research Fellow position to the University of Auckland’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Dr Heke has a particular interest in

  • Maori concepts of health using ancestral environmental knowledge
  • Tribally centred, physical activity and nutrition programmes
  • Using environmental signs from birds, insects, fish, trees and weather patterns as an alternative to mainstream safety action plans.    
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