Our Wellington and Manawatū campuses are open, Auckland remains closed at AL3. More information.

Sara Poananga

Doctor of Clinical Psychology
Study Completed: 2012
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Positive "Whanau Management" Privileging the Centrality of Whanau and Culturally Specific Understandings of Child Discipline for Effective Psychological Practice with Maori

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ms Poananga conducted qualitative strength-based research on current successful Maori child-rearing values and discipline practices to explore how these can be effectively incorporated into psychological practice with Maori. In-depth semi-structured interviews were used to determine how Maori psychologists, as experts of best practice for Maori, negotiated psychological practices around the issue of discipline. This was combined with a case study of a modern-day Maori whanau who used a positive non-smacking approach to ‘whanau management’. Ms Poananga’s research concluded that privileging the centrality of whanau and culturally specific understandings of child-rearing and discipline is necessary for effective psychological practices that draw on standard behavioural discipline strategies, and that this knowledge is necessary to New Zealand psychologists’ ethical obligation to cultural competencies.

Dr Leigh Coombes
Professor Janet Leathem
Associate Professor Paul Merrick