Māori Family Violence Prevention

Amokura Family Violence Prevention Strategy

Fiona Cram

Funder: Amokura, with funding from the Ministry of Social Development

Timeframe: 2004-07

Amokura (the Amokura Family Violence Prevention Strategy) was an integrated community-based initiative to address family violence in Tai Tokerau (Northland). The initiative was led by the Consortium (the Family Violence Prevention Consortium) made up of the Chief Executives of seven iwi authorities: Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu, Whaingaroa, Ngapuhi, Ngāti Whatua and Ngāti Wai. The Amokura initiative itself consisted of four project areas that provided ‘a whole of population approach to addressing family violence prevention’: research, education and promotion, professional development and training, and advocacy.

The Amokura project goals for the three years, 2004-2007, were:

  1. ‘To demonstrate positive leadership leading to whānau oranga [family wellness], through relationships with Iwi [tribes], hapū [sub-tribes], whānau [Maori families] and communities
  2. To co-ordinate a range of family violence programmes, initiatives and services for maximum benefit
  3. To see measurable impacts and outcomes over three years’

Comprehensive Community Initiatives (CCIs) is a term ‘used to describe the full range of initiatives that take a comprehensive approach to change communities in order to improve the well-being of their residents’ (Association for the Study of Community Development, 2001, p.1). These initiatives work to prevent a range of health, social and other societal issues, including violence, through coordinating community processes that engage individuals, families, organisations and institutions. According to Chaskin (2001, p.292), CCIs ‘emphasize the centrality of meaningful resident participation in the change process and the importance of developing their human and social capital as a condition of sustainable community change’. In other words, the focus of CCIs is on meaningful change in the lives of participants. Amokura is just such an initiative in that it is multi-pronged, community-oriented and aiming to improve the lives of those living within Tai Tokerau.

The first formative evaluation described the implementation of Amokura in its first ‘year’ of operation; that is, activities since the signing of the contract with Child, Youth and Family in December 2004, until the end of June 2005. Within this shortened timeframe the Consortium set out to deliver on its first year of outputs, culminating in the Amokura Family Violence Prevention Conference in June 2005. The evaluation found that four variables had facilitated the successful implementation of Amokura in its first year of operation, namely:

  • The commitment of the Consortium to collaborating and endorsing this kaupapa;
  • The skills, expertise, networks and commitment of the Project Manager;
  • The involvement of providers; and
  • The ‘Step Back’ brand.
The 2005-2007 Research and Evaluation Plan developed from Amokura (Cram, 2005). The research plan saw the first year’s research and evaluation built upon and expanded. Two main themes to this expansion were proposed:
  1. A ‘Scoping Knowledge’ component examining what was currently known about community-based family violence interventions; family violence incidence; and Tai Tokerau rohe (region) more generally.
  2. A ‘Whānau’ component examining the experience, knowledge and explanations held by those in Tai Tokerau about family violence and whānau oranga. In particular, Māori men’s pathways away from family violence are explored and Best Practices among local providers are analysed

The evaluation plan was in two parts: a continuation of a formative evaluation programme and planning for an outcome evaluation in the final year of Amokura. The outcome evaluation looked at the outcomes experienced by the Consortium, Māori provider organisations, whānau, and  Iwi. It was suggested that measurable and realistic outcomes be defined and that the evaluation include both self-report/self-reflection from participants and information from key informants and external sources.

In 2007 the evaluation report on years 2 &3 of Amokura was completed. The evaluation concluded that the implementation of Amokura in years 2 and 3 had been successful. Contract deliverables had been achieved and often exceeded. Variables identified as important in the implementation of Amokura in the first year had been strengthened; namely, the commitment of the Consortium to the kaupapa (agenda) (including their modelling of kotahitanga (unity) and their public and organisational promotion of zero tolerance to violence); the skills and expertise of the Project Manager; the involvement of provider organisations; and the ‘Step Back’ brand. A fifth factor added from this evaluation was Amokura’s reach into and relationships with its community. Knowledge transfer through wānanga (discussions), workshops and skill sharing has seen more people up-skilled in both the theory and practice of violence prevention and early intervention. This capability and capacity building has immense potential to facilitate sustainable solutions to domestic violence in Tai Tokerau. In addition, an ambitious research programme has given voice to people’s aspirations for whānau oranga (family wellness).

Research conducted by Amokura led to reports on young people's understanding of oranga whānau, expressed through Photovoice; testimonies of Māori men about their journey to becoming violence-free; and conversations with kaumatua and kuia (elders) about oranga whānau.

References

Association for the Study and Development of Community (2001). Principles for evaluating Comprehensive Community Initiatives. Prepared on behalf of the National Funding Collaborative on Violence Prevention.

Chaskin, R.J. (2001). Building community capacity. A definitional framework and case studies from a Comprehensive Community Initiative. Urban Affairs Review, 36(3), 291-323.

Grennell, D. & Cram, F. (2008). Evaluation of Amokura: An indigenous family violence prevention strategy. MAI Review, Issue 2, Article 4.
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Fiona Cram,
5 Apr 2013, 23:38
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