It's not as bad as you think it is, if you tell somebody, the world is not going to stop turning tomorrow. It always seems the darkest when that cloud is upon you, and don't make the mistake I did and have the heck knocked out of me only to realise, all I needed to do was talk, and when I did talk, nobody died, and nobody hated me. All I know is that no matter how dark it is, there is alot of aroha.
- Actor and Writer Rob Mokaraka on depression
Highlights feature from the Turamarama ki te Ora National Suicide Prevention conference where Māori Party Leader, and Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell discussed the controversial statement he made in 2011. At the conference, he talked about ways forward to tackle the issue.
Justine Murray is in the Bay of Plenty and to gain an insight into the work needed to educate and inform communities about suicide prevention within a Māori tikanga (protocols) context. However, how does tikanga itself impact upon whanau when tangihanga are held on marae? For example, if the deceased person has died from suicide, choices can be made to shift the Tikanga. What can result is a shortened period of time to mourn the loss, and the deceased person may not be buried in the whanau urupa (burial plot). Dr Hauata Palmer attended a suicide conference held in Tauranga in May this year, he provides his perspective.
There's been a certain stigma attached to tikanga tangihanga and suicide, and I have a total disagreement with that because they are still dead and they are still ours. That's all that matters in my view. I''ve heard examples of people being buried on the same day they died, sometimes the day after, the other was they be buried outside the urupa gates. Those sorts of things are quite abhorrent to me and I don't agree with them, they are still yours not matter how they died.
Dr Hauata Palmer
Kia Piki te Ora Suicide Prevention Co-ordinator Irene Walker has spent the past five years in her role. Keeping the dialogue open at a grassroots level is how Irene promotes the message of suicide prevention. For her, Kaumatua and Kuia are critical in changing the thinking at a community level. During her time growing up at the marae, it wasn't an issue for everyone to know everyone, for parents to look out for everyone's kids and not just their own, she talks with Justine about getting back to basics, and how Māori need to look outside of themselves.
I remember our kuias' after the nehu, our kuias' would go home with the whanau pani, they would just sit there and they would stay there for about a week. Have a laugh and put the fun back in the house, they would keep an eye out. Because now all the whanau and the people have gone, this is another pouri state where they bring them through.
Six years ago, actor and writer, Rob Mokaraka's battle with depression came to a head when he was shot by police outside his home at Point Chevalier in Auckland. Depression has been Rob's, as he calls it, black dog off and on for twenty years. That particular day, it's alleged he orchestrated the call to police which sparked an armed police call out. Rob advanced upon police holding a meat cleaver, during the fracus he was shot and recovered from the wound in hospital.
Today, Rob can talk openly about how that incident affected his mental state, his writing and even his acting. Perhaps not suprisingly, he wrote a black comedy called Shot Bro, Confessions of a depressed Bullet, which was recently performed at Hannah Playhouse in Wellington on August 14. He talks to Justine Murray about the incident and what he learned from it.
There was no hiding after that, I been hiding for a long time, when you have hit rock bottom, and your tinana is wrecked from surgeries from a single bullet, you've hit rock bottom mentally and spiritually, all you've got left is your ngakau. People came and they just understood that, some people left that I thought were my friends. In hindsight it was a great thing, because all the pretenders left and the all the real ones stayed.
In this segment, Justine Murray interviews Witi Ashby, the Kaitakawaenga for the Mental Health Foundation based in Wellington, Meridian Kinesiologist Maui Te Pou and Naida Glavish deconstructs the word and meaning of mokopuna at the National Suicide Prevention conference Turamarama ki te Ora, hosted by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao.
Ngā waiata/Music playlist
Inspiration, Into the Light, Poi, The End, Tomorrow
Album: Music From the Pa Boys