Caregiving is a big job and it requires a lot of fortitude to do this over months and sometimes years (as with some cancers and life-limiting conditions such as diabetes or dementia). Providing this level of care, especially if the illness the kaumātua has requires around-the-clock care, or they are at end-stage, can be tiring. Often there may be only one or two caregivers available to help. With globalisation many whānau are now living in Australia and other parts of the world. In addition, not all whānau have the human resources, knowledge, skills, support and resources needed to carry out 24/7 wrap-around, end of life care. Many whānau role models are sadly no longer alive and cannot pass on their time-honoured care customs.


Be aware that the stereotype of the large family in many instances is a myth in today’s world and there will be a need to make sure effective and sustainable support is put in place.

For health and palliative care professionals, we recommend:

  • Ensuring that kaumātua who may not have whānau manaaki to care for them, or their whānau may lack the knowledge and/or resources to carry out their care customs at end of life, are aware of and have access to a Māori health team or social services.

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