The high rates of indigenous peoples exposed to traumatic experiences are exacerbated by the affects of historical trauma passed from generation to generation. Research exploring the individual and collective impact of this phenomenon is growing internationally. Yet little is known about Māori practices that facilitate healing from historical trauma. This article aims to analyse the affects of this trauma on Māori by exploring them in the context of the growing body of international historical trauma research.
This article draws from research with Māori women who have experiences of incarceration and key informants who have worked with Māori in the criminal justice system and/or in communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. Understanding was sought through an exploration of the intergenerational transfer of suffering and the associated normalisation of dysfunction and incarceration. Theories of historical trauma are utilised as a way to comprehend our history of incarceration; most invigorating about historical trauma theory is its ultimate aim of healing, however.