SPEAKER - Michael Neara

Michael Naera

Michael is a project leader in Rotorua for Kia Piki te Ora, the Ministry of Health’s National Maori Suicide Prevention Program. He sees himself as a translator between the clinician and the Maori world. It’s a view informed from a lived experience of suicide. In 2000, six people of his hapu Ngati Pikiao died by suicide. Michael has lost two uncles and a niece, and 20 years ago in his early 20s, he attempted to take his own life. These experiences informed Michael’s practice in suicide prevention.It must be whanau- based. Post-vention is prevention. He’s troubled about the lack of korero. “Many of our whanau are really fearful of the word suicide, fearful that they might catch the disease”.

The evidenced-based psychological models of agencies still have some work to do to properly marry up with what the community is doing, he says. But there is progress: “Whether academics or traditionalists, they are all right. It’s how we translate it that is making a difference in the stats. When you empower those at the ground level to make a difference we see huge changes across the community.”

Michael’s organisation hosted the first World Indigenous Suicide Prevention Conference in New Zealand. From this the Turamarama Declaration was developed.

Michael will speak on global Indigenous suicide prevention concerns and the Turamarama Declaration. 

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