Professor Sir Mason Durie (Rangitane, Ngāti Kauwhata) is the Senior Advisor to Te Rau Matatini. Mason graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Otago and a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychiatry from McGill University, Canada. He was Director of Psychiatry at Palmerston North Hospital, is a Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry (1971), and a Fellow of the College (1979).
He served on the Royal Commission on Social Policy from 1986–88. In 1988 he was appointed Professor and Head of Te Pūtahi-ā-Toi, School of Māori Studies, Massey University and to the Chair of Māori Research and Development in 2002. He was awarded a Doctor of Literature (2002) and an Honorary Doctor of Laws (2008). In 2010 Mason was appointed as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori health and public health services.
Mauri Ora is about flourishing - flourishing people, families, communities, and the environment. Mauri noho is the opposite – it is about languishing. The challenge is to enable all indigenous peoples to flourish. Making the shift will require moving beyond a search for the causes of adversity to a search for catalysts that can lead to mauri ora.
Enough is known about flourishing to identify a range of factors that foster wellness. Indigenous solutions for example are more likely to spell out success; indigenous leaders are more likely to inspire their own people; unleashing indigenous potential will enable whole populations to flourish; and actively shaping the future will offer opportunities for indigenous peoples to prosper while retaining culture and homelands.
It is postulated that an emphasis on wellness is more likely to generate indigenous enthusiasm than approaches that emphasise indigenous misfortune. The adversity approach runs the risk of generating a stereotype that becomes embedded as an inevitable destination. In contrast the search for precursors to flourishing is more aligned to positive aspirations and pathways to achieve them.