Ngā Whāriki Kōrero—Kaupapa Māori Speech Language Resources
By Julianne Johns
Committed to communication as a basic human right, and recognising that stroke pathways for Māori needed improvement, speech-language therapist and Kaupapa Māori researcher Dr Karen Brewer (Whakatohea, Ngaiterangi) launched Ngā Whāriki Kōrero in July 2020 at the University of Auckland.
A few years ago, Karen undertook a Health Research Council-funded Eru Pomare post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Māori Health. Her research aimed to develop a therapy package in collaboration with Māori whānau, speech-language therapists, Māori health researchers and health advisors.
She started listening to stories of Māori and their whānau after stroke, as well as the experiences of speech-language therapists, Māori health specialists and Stroke Foundation community advisors. Karen unpacked the complexities of designing therapy for Māori living with stroke-related communication disorders in her insightful 2016 article that NZRA profiled in January.
Ngā Whāriki Kōrero—a superb kaupapa Māori speech-language therapy package for whānau with communication difficulties caused by stroke—is the culmination of her work.
You can hear Karen talk about how to use Ngā Whāriki Kōrero in the webinar of the launch.
There are three components available to view or download in PDF format.
- The website: gathers a collection of video and written resources to help Māori who have experienced stroke to understand what has happened and what to expect. Aphasia and speech-language therapy is explained, as well as ideas as to how to rehabilitate.
- The booklet: written especially for Māori and their whānau, explains stroke, aphasia and roles of speech-language therapists and communication-based groups communication. There is a strong focus on moving forward with aphasia and ideas for enhancing recovery and ways whānau can help.
- The interactive resource utilising Talking Mats: Talking Mats is a therapy package with communication symbols depicting topics with response options and a scale placed in a way that explores feelings and opinions. Karen consulted with Māori advisers to adapt Talking Mats for the needs of Māori users.
Used together, Ngā Whāriki Kōrero helps speech-language therapists and other communication partners to build successful relationships. It also allows for them to hear about what is important for a person with aphasia and their whānau, as they develop a rehabilitation plan.
Karen sees the usefulness of this resource trending to events with big impact and slow recovery. This means the resource may transfer to other situations in which communication access could be better supported for Māori, such as to traumatic brain injury, chronic illness, dementia and spinal cord injury.
While Ngā Whāriki Kōrero was designed with speech-language therapists and Māori clients in mind, we see its scope expanding to improve communication for other allied health and medical professionals working in rehabilitation. We also love its possibilities for advancing tiro rangatiratanga and mātauranga Māori in health research—building empowerment and inclusion in research design, and participation for Māori whānau experiencing communication disorders or access barriers.
Karen is the guest speaker for Burwood Academy’s March Peer Group meeting on 11 March at 12:00pm. This will be an online presentation. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. They will provide you with the link to the online meeting.
Karen has generously distributed hard copy resources across Aotearoa to each of the District Health Board speech-language therapy departments, in numbers correlating with the proportion of Māori in that area. If you would like a set for your workplace, Karen may provide copies (on receipt of an addressed courier bag). You can contact her here. Alternatively, you can download the PDFs.
Nga mihi, Dr Karen Brewer and your research team.