Dr Siautu Alefaio-Tugia
Massey University, Auckland
Caring for our Wisdom Bearers: Pacific Matua (Elder) care
36 months

Lay summary

Research in Aotearoa-New Zealand shows the value and importance of Pacific Matua
(Elders) in families, churches, and communities. They are not considered separate to
one’s family and are the most respected individuals within aiga (family) given their
valuable roles as advisors, holders of wisdom and traditional knowledge, protectors of
family genealogy and healers of social issues. Caring for Matua within Pacific society is
maintained by traditional practices of intergenerational kinship care and multiple
systemic living. Migration, new housing, work and living arrangements have created
many challenges in maintaining Elder-care. Research remains sparse regarding family,
community care and wellbeing of Pacific Matua. However, the Elder population is
increasing and numbers are likely to grow rapidly in the next few decades. Drawing on
psychology, nursing and social work, a Pacific health-collective approach explores Eldercare practices of Pacific families to understand the health and wellbeing implications
borne by carers.

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