New Te Reo terms for mental health go global

7 July 2017

News of a new Māori glossary translating and creating 200 words in Te Reo for mental health and disability issues has gone global.

Robyn Shearer, chief executive of mental health workforce agency Te Pou, said the feedback to the Te Reo Hāpai – The Language of Enrichment glossary had been "overwhelmingly positive" including requests for training in using the new resource. The new glossary was also picked up and covered by the BBC.

The project was lead by Keri Opai and involved two years of consultation with people who have lived experience of mental health, addiction and disability issues, as well as practitioners, clinicians and kaupapa organisations.  The resulting glossary includes more than 200 Māori words, terms and whakataukī (proverbs) including creating a new Māori word for autism.

“I have a close friend who has autism,” said Opai. “In my experience, people with autism tend to have their own timing, spacing, pacing and life-rhythm. That’s why I interpreted autism in Te Reo as ‘takiwātanga’ – ‘his or her own time and space’.”

‘Disabled’ has been translated into ‘whaikaha’ which means to have strength, to have ability, otherly abled, enabled. This word was created with the Māori disabled community, and has a deliberate emphasis on gaining strength and ability.

Shearer said the glossary was a work in progress and it already had requests for training to accompany the resources. "We expect the demand to grow as we get feedback."

Click here to download or request a hard copy of Te Reo Hāpai – The Language of Enrichment

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