Kotuitui – A Conversation Towards the Healing of Collective and Intergenerational Trauma in Aotearoa New Zealand

A national conversation around the healing of colonisation has begun in Aotearoa/New Zealand. An event held on February 21 bought many threads together, nationally and internationally to host an initial conversation around assessing the appetite for a process to heal the effects of colonisation and other collective traumas in this country.

The event was hosted by philanthropic organisations – Foundation North and the Centre for Social Impact. The Pocket Project and its mission to integrate transgenerational and collective trauma healing has been introduced.

The event was an exploration and included a panel of:

  • Dr Tatjana Buklijas – Senior Research Fellow, Liggins Institute, University of Auckland
  • Tui Ah Loo – CEO of PARS, an organisation focused on long term Maori recidivism
  • Professor Chris Marshall – Diana Unwin Chair of Restorative Justice, Victoria University
  • Karlo Mila – Pacific Poet and mental health scholar

Also two young people played a large part in the day to demonstrate intercultural healing – one pakeha (white) whose ancestor translated the Treaty of Waitangi (the treaty New Zealand is settled on between the British and the Maori) and the other whose ancestor signed the treaty.
As the leader of the event I also spoke about the Pocket Project and the potential healing of intergenerational and collective trauma and the training. A circle of support from the collective field of the pocket project supported the event.

The event raised the bar on what might be possible in Aotearoa and canvassed ideas and ways forward to enter into a 20 year healing conversation . These included setting up a national restoration centre and process that brings national and international expertise together, and also setting up circles of support for those wanting to build competencies and support the young people who are wanting to take some lead in this area.

The tragic mass shooting this month has escalated that conversation and many are willing and ready to head towards a racially inclusive society under the Treaty of Waitangi. We now have groups exploring how this might be progressed with respect, care and depth.

We are also working through a process to see what work is already happening throughout the country and how we bring these people together to learn, share and support this mahi (sacred work).

By Louise Marra, member of the Pocket Project one year training.