Genograms are a visual representation of whakapapa (genealogy) similar to that of a family tree. Constructed of various shaped symbols, and colour-coded lines, genograms can depict a variety of information such as gender, age, ethnic origin, health status, education achievements, as well as different types of relationship such as family, social and emotional relationships. Health therapists, clinicians, social workers and others in various fields use genograms to track family history and to look for recurring patterns of illness and behaviour that interrupt relationships. Development of genograms in terms of researching with Māori collectives involves storytelling from multiple perspectives through collaboration with whānau, drawing on the principles of whakamana – privileging our voices – and tino rangatiratanga – self-determination – within a framework of whakapapa. This article seeks to enable the reader to understand what a genogram is and to outline the potential value of genograms as a tool: (a) to depict the connectedness of whānau, no matter the context; (b) to assist to inform policy about whānau more accurately than through the aggregation of individual data; (c) that is compatible with a Kaupapa Māori approach to research with whānau; and (d) that can be used by providers, agencies, researchers, individuals, communities and whānau to support whānau ora (wellness).

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