The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of health, illness and the delivery of physiotherapy amongst a group of contemporary Maori. The methodology was established in collaboration with Kaumatua of the Ngati iwi. This resulted in the data collection consisting of semi-structured interviews, which used open-ended questions. As with other studies of cultural health issues both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. Nineteen people identifying with this iwi volunteered to participate. The majority of participants had some involvement in the Maori culture. All participants had used the western orthodox health system, with approximately 50% of them having also used traditional Maori methods of healing. Their perceptions of health and illness beliefs reflected a mixture of western orthodox medicine theories and traditional Maori beliefs. Despite only 10 participants having experienced physiotherapy, the majority had a good understanding of what physiotherapy is. While those who had received physiotherapy regarded it positively, there was a general feeling amongst the participants that it could be delivered in a more culturally sensitive manner. This did not necessarily mean that Maori people wanted to be treated at a clinic on the Marae or by Maori physiotherapists.
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