Māori perspectives on alcohol
Māori suffer disproportionately from alcohol-related harm in Aotearoa New Zealand. With the view toward informing potential alcohol interventions for Māori, this study synthesises studies on alcohol and alcohol-related harm.
Using a Māori-centered approach, a narrative review of qualitative studies of Māori perspectives on alcohol was conducted. Journal databases, repositories, and websites were searched for relevant studies published since 2000. A thematic analysis was conducted and emergent themes were synthesised.
Eight studies were identified for inclusion. Whanaungatanga was identified as a contributor to alcohol use in included studies. Other motivations were ‘fitting in’, escape from stress, achieving ‘the buzz’, and coping with historical trauma. Among included literature, a strong cultural identity was a deterrent to alcohol overuse. Māori voiced a desire to be involved with local alcohol policy decisions.
Although Māori are a high-priority group, there remains a substantial gap in research on Māori perspectives toward alcohol interventions which is reflective of an underinvestment in Kaupapa Māori research. Future interventions for Māori may be more effective if these interventions focus on enhancing whanaungatanga without the presence of alcohol, consider the variable motivations for drinking, and utilise culturally appropriate methods to encourage reduced harm from alcohol use.