4 Jul 2013

Te Arawa elders help deliver suicide prevention message - Naera

7:02 pm on 4 July 2013

Te Arawa kaumatua are helping drive the message of suicide prevention on the marae - in an effort to overcome the high suicide rate among Maori.

The latest Ministry of Health figures show a total of 522 people died by suicide in 2010.

Of those 104 were Maori.

Michael Naera, the project leader of Ngati Pikiao - suicide prevention programme, Kia Piki Te Ora, says it's been holding wananga with kaumatua for the past three years.

He says it's essential his team talks to them because elders are responsible for ensuring the spirit of a person who's died, maybe of suicide, has a safe journey to the spiritual realm.

Mr Naera says they also welcome visitors, including rangatahi who go to the marae to say good-bye.

He says kaumatua deliver key messages about suicide prevention such as encouraging rangatahi or young people to talk to their parents or kuia about suicide.