He Oro Waiora: Music Therapy and Wellbeing in Adolescent Mental Health

Nolan Hodgson

MMusTher, BA, NZ RMTh

Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa
New Zealand School of Music, Te Kōkī, Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington


Keywords: Music therapy, kaupapa Māori models of health, wairua (spirit), mental health, taonga puoro (Māori musical instruments).


This paper discusses the practice of music therapy in relation to kaupapa Māori models of health and how these models articulate the means whereby musical activities can address and support a person’s wairuatanga within modern mental health practices. Contemporary international music therapy theories that have extended from early medical and humanistic models to embrace ecological and community orientations are also acknowledged. The relationship between kaupapa Māori frameworks and these recent music therapy concepts will be discussed with a particular focus on Durie’s (1998) Te Whare Tapa Whā and Pere’s Te Wheke (1991). To complement these, a link with indigenous understandings of well-being and music therapy is provided through the writings of Kenny (2006) and a discussion centring around uses of taonga puoro, traditional Māori musical instruments.

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