Framework launched to guide future research on Maori disability

  • Tariana Turia

The Associate Minister of Health, Hon Tariana Turia, today launched a framework to guide future research on Maori disability.

“Research should enable the voices of Maori living with a disability and their whanau to be heard. We hope that with the Maori Disability Research Agenda, research about Maori living with a disability will increase,” Mrs Tariana Turia said.

“Better information about the impact of disability on Maori and their whanau will mean more informed decision-making at both health and disability and community sector levels. It will also enable whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori communities to have a greater role in decision-making,” according to Mrs Turia.

“Specific research might look into the impact of disability on Maori and their whanau, and what helps or hinders Maori with a disability to get access to health and disability services and supports,” she said.

The Maori Disability Research Agenda aims to build an evidence base through the production of quality research and evaluation, to ensure the participation of Maori with disability and their whanau in research, and to help evidence contribute to improved outcomes for Maori with a disability and their whanau.

The Ministry of Health and the Health Research Council of New Zealand developed the research agenda on Maori disability. The project was undertaken to address a concern that health research, particularly on disability, rarely focused on Maori.

Results of the 2006 New Zealand Household Disability Survey show that about 96,000 or 17 per cent of Maori are living with a disability. The age-standardised disability rate for Maori was 19 per cent, compared with 13 per cent for non-Maori.

Fourteen per cent of Maori children aged 0-14 years had a disability, compared to 9 per cent of non-Maori children of the same age range. Special education needs and chronic conditions, including heart problems, were the most common disability experienced by Maori children.