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Trauma informed approaches

Recognising and understanding

Understanding what has happened to a person and their whānau, rather than focusing on what is wrong with a person, is the basis to a trauma-informed approach. Many services are actively working towards providing trauma informed approaches.

People have different responses to trauma and we need to be aware of the event, the experience by a person or a population and the effects of the event. A trauma informed approach recognises and understands trauma can negatively affect whānau, groups, organisations and communities, as well as individuals.

In New Zealand the impacts of colonisation on the wellbeing of Māori people, the impact of historical trauma events and their contribution to negative health disparities experienced by many whānau (extended family), hapū (sub-tribes), and iwi (tribes) need to be considered in any trauma-informed approach.

A trauma-informed approach not only affects people who access health services but includes close attention to the wellbeing of workers. The prevention of further trauma and building resilience are essential factors needed for promoting worker wellbeing. See these worker wellbeing resources.

Research, initiatives and resources to support services and communities to develop trauma informed approaches often come from USA, Canada, UK and Australia. The use of, or adaption of, any overseas designed trauma informed care resources requires careful consideration to ensure that we are culturally respectful of, and responsive to, Māori people.

Key resources

Trauma informed approaches - essential level

Weaving together knowledge for wellbeing

Trauma and Covid-19

Being trauma-informed in challenging times

Evidence update for least restrictive practice in Aotearoa New Zealand: Vicarious trauma

Evidence on vicarious trauma among the mental health and addiction workforce.


Ki Te Ao Mārama

‍In 2023 Whāraurau partnered with Te Pou, Te Rau Ora and Māoriland Productions to produce a short five-minute video called Ki Te Ao Mārama – Toward light, understanding and growing.

The video is aimed at helping people working with all mokopuna and whānau to understand the possible impacts of intergenerational trauma on hauora and to encourage them to lead with hope. Taking a Māori perspective, the video explores mauri (energy) as both a source and an indicator of wellbeing; suggesting simple ways we can help to shift this dynamic life force when it becomes blocked or caught in unhelpful patterns that may affect close loved ones for generations to come.

What actions are we taking?

Te Pou is working in collaboration with other workforce centres; Whāraurau, Le Va and Te Rau Ora to develop further resources for trauma informed approaches in New Zealand.

Le Va has produced a learning module to raise awareness of the effects of trauma and a trauma informed approach, but specifically with a focus on a healing-centred approach when working with Pasifika people and families.

In 2018 Te Pou published a literature scan about trauma informed care:

Published a list of organisations that have produced resources about trauma informed care.

Ensured that the refresh of Let’s get real: Real Skills for working with people and whānau with mental health and addiction needs, recognises the need for trauma informed approaches are included across the seven Real Skills.

Key Contacts


Related Initiatives