Principle 4: Māori health

Principle 4: Māori health

Health and disability service providers should respect and be responsive to Māori and their cultural values and beliefs.


The following is one of a group of principles which recognise the particular needs of children and young people receiving health and disability support services. The principles describe what should be provided when your child or young person receives those services. They are based on expert opinion and a considerable body of literature in New Zealand and overseas and they have been developed after wide consultation. See all the principles listed in Principles: what health and disability services should provide for your child or young person.

Recognition of Māori values and beliefs

Principle: Child and young people who identify as Māori have their health and disability needs met in a manner that respects and acknowledges their individual and cultural, values and beliefs.

When your child is receiving health care and disability support services you can expect the organisation providing the services to:

  • identify opportunities for and encourage whānau involvement and support at every stage of health care delivery
  • identify and eliminate barriers to whānau support and participation
  • involve whānau and their knowledge of the child or young person during service delivery

Culturally accessible and appropriate care is evident when:

  • you and your whānau are encouraged and supported to stay with your child when they are receiving health care services and to accompany and support them during procedures
  • you and your whānau receive the information and support you need and request throughout the course of your child or young person's treatment
  • you and your whānau’s beliefs, traditions, and ways of coping are respected
  • you and your whānau are invited to share your knowledge of your child and suggestions for their care, to ask the questions you want and need to ask, and to help identify the goals for your child or young person's care
  • you and your whānau participate actively in all of their child's care and become full members of the care teams
  • you and your whānau are supported to allow increasing confidentiality between your child and their health professionals as your child matures

You may ask

  • is your family included in all health care planning regarding your child?
  • is information appropriate to your child's / family's culture and your child's or young person's age group?
  • is there written information to explain services provided and to explain your child or young person's condition or disability?
  • is information available to you as often as needed, in a variety of formats; for example, written, verbal, audio and / or visual? 
  • how can you access your child’s notes?
  • what information is available about financial support for your family?
  • what provision is made for siblings?
  • what culturally appropriate support services are available to your family and what is their role; for example, social worker, community worker, child / patient advocate?
  • does your family feel that your preferences in relation to grief, parenting style, choices about health care etc, are being accepted and supported?
  • are there programmes provided for children, young people and their siblings to help them understand the treatment, illness and / or disability?
  • are older children and young people given dedicated time to discuss sensitive matters with health professionals?
  • is there bedside accommodation for parents or primary caregivers of children in hospital?
  • what practical support is available free of charge for your family; for example, meals for a live-in parent in hospital, or residential health care setting?

This page last reviewed 25 March 2015.
Email us your feedback

On this page