Decolonising Psychological Practice: An Indigenous Aotearoa New Zealand Perspective

2024 SPA Convention Feature Lecture

Friday, March 15 | 4:30 PM (PT)

The application of psychological paradigms and perspectives, when working alongside Indigenous peoples in 2024, require review and decolonialisation to ensure they promote cultural competence of the clinician to enable cultural safety for the Indigenous patient/client.  This presentation will present and discuss the application of an Indigenous Health Model in Aotearoa New Zealand within psychological practice and training, including; lessons learnt, measuring appropriate outcomes, and the place of psychology in support of Indigenous Health advancement.       
Learning Objectives
  1. Discuss the role of Indigenous Health Models as tools of decolonisation.
  2. Describe the key components of The Meihana Model.
  3. Identify the impact of cultural competency on Indigenous health outcomes.



Professor Suzanne Pitama (Ngāti Kahungunu) 

BA, MA (First Class Hons), PGDipEdPsych, PhD (Otago). NZSPsS.

Suzanne is a registered psychologist and a member of the New Zealand Psychological Society.  She is the Dean and the Head of Campus of the University of Otago, Christchurch. Suz has been involved in Māori health research  and health professional education for over 20 years. Her work has included the development of an Indigenous Health model of health, which supports Indigenous and non-Indigenous health professionals signpost cultural competency and safety within their practice.  Suzanne has received a number of awards including the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for tertiary teaching excellence and the Indigenous Leadership Award from the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME). Suzanne was awarded the Joan Metge Medal for her research in Indigenous medical education.