Healthy Families Rotorua is seeking Te Arawa perspectives on sleep through a new survey released today.
The Te Arawa Sleep strategy is a kaupapa Māori approach to strengthening mental resilience in the community by improving sleep quality. The strategy will be iwi-led and inspired by Te Arawa mātauranga and lived voice through co-design and collaboration opportunities.
Healthy Families Rotorua systems innovator, Te Taiawatea Knight, says the sleep strategy is about empowering communities through their own mātauranga and whakapapa to improve sleep quality to prevent chronic illness.
“The Te Arawa Sleep Strategy champions Māori indigenous sleep beliefs and practices to strengthen sleep outcomes. Everyone needs quality sleep for their brains, bodies, and spirits to operate at full potential. Stronger mental health empowers communities to make healthier lifestyle decisions, which can lead to a reduction in chronic illnesses,” she says.
“While the early phases offered insights into the current sleep practices and prominent issues across Aotearoa, the survey is designed to gauge a more local perspective on sleep issues, practices, values and beliefs. It will be followed by a series of engagement wānanga to allow the community to have direct input into the strategy design.”
Te Taiawatea says research shows that current messaging around sleep in Aotearoa can be stressful and confusing for indigenous people, as the values and practices do not align with their own cultural backgrounds.
“Nutrition and physical activity are key priorities in the health sector. However, sleep remains crucially under-recognised despite all the evidence identifying the importance of sleep for positive health outcomes. Poor sleep quality has been linked to depression, suicide, risk taking behaviour, increased blood sugar level, obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
“The ways in which sleep is currently recognised and valued within the health system prioritises Western clinical perspectives which don’t resonate with Māori values and practices. By activating an iwi-led co-design opportunity for the sleep strategy we hope to produce meaningful insights that can help inform policy change and system review at a higher level,” says Te Taiawatea.
The Te Arawa Sleep Strategy will be devised in alignment with the Te Arawa 2020 vision and Te Arawa Health Strategy Te Ara ki Tikitiki o Rangi, as well as utilising Te Arawa reo, kōrero tuku iho and mātauranga. It is intended to guide, inform and influence sleep practices to strengthen mental resilience across the Te Arawa rohe – Mai Maketū ki Tongariro.