Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Marae Food Gardens: Health and wellbeing through urban marae in Tāmaki Makaurau (#28)

Kimiora Raerino 1
  1. University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Nā te māra kai te whakamātau a oranga (from the garden wellbeing is tasted).

Community food gardens can be viewed as a health promotion intervention with potentially wide-ranging social, cultural, environmental and health outcomes. Food gardens on marae can positively influence the social determinants of health for Māori communities and contribute to reducing health inequities.

This presentation provides an overview of the Marae Food Gardens research project. The research team worked with eight urban marae in Tāmaki Makaurau, conducting interviews with representatives involved in various aspects of the gardens. A narrative analysis was undertaken to explore participants’ motivations for involvement in marae gardens and the multidimensional outcomes of this activity. There was a particular emphasis on the importance of locational context to Indigenous participation in health promotion.

I will outline the background to this project, briefly describe the settings in which the research was undertaken, and explain the study objectives and methods.

Preliminarily results indicate that factors related to socialisation, empowerment and autonomy within an informal culturally loaded space are significant influences and outcomes of marae garden participation. The results of this research will provide an understanding of the essential conditions needed to achieve wellbeing outcomes for Indigenous people. The appropriate siting of food gardens can enable health initiatives to take advantage of their setting to reach specific Indigenous individuals, families and communities. Ultimately, this study will contribute to further elucidating the significant role of urban marae in improving Māori holistic wellbeing.