Study shows culturally adapted Triple P helps Maori families

A culturally-adapted parenting programme for Māori families increases parents’ confidence, reduces conflict between partners, and improves children’s behaviour.

The programme, Te Whānau Pou Toru, was adapted from Triple P Discussion Groups, and the research was funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health. A randomised controlled trial was conducted by the University of Auckland and the Ngāti Hine Health Trust. The evaluation report is now available to download.

As part of the project, new resource materials were created to show how specific Ngāti Hine values were aligned with positive parenting principles.  Those values include autonomy and self-management, being healthy, being nurturing and engaging with the environment.

Gwen Tepania-Palmer, Board Chair of Ngāti Hine Health Trust, says the next step is to look further at how “this exciting and valuable project can be integrated into Ngāti Hine Health Trust’s Whānau Ora culture of maximising positive outcomes for whānau [families]’’.

The adapted programme also sits well with Māori traditions of putting the needs of whānau, extended whānau, and iwi/tribe before the individual; there are now calls for the programme, and the Triple P population health system, to be made more widely available.

“The population approach is very consistent with this Māori world view and would reduce stigma associated with participation in parenting programmes,’’ says the study’s final evaluation report.

Parents took part in two parenting discussion groups where they learnt a variety of positive parenting techniques. Te Whānau Pou Toru encouraged families to share ideas about whānau/parenting and learn from other whānau about how they interact with their tamariki/children.

Six months after programme completion, parents reported:

  • significantly fewer child behaviour problems
  • less conflict with their partner about child rearing
  • more confidence in their parenting skills
  • increased use of positive parenting practices.  

Dr Louise Keown, of the University of Auckland’s Parenting Research Group, said the Ngāti Hine partnership showed the way for cultural adaptation of this ‘light touch’ parenting programme for Māori.  

She said the study builds on the existing strong New Zealand evidence base for Triple P, which consists of seven other randomised controlled trials also conducted by the University of Auckland.