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These three poems re-present the findings from a research project that took place in 2013 (Kidd et al. 2018, Kidd et al. 2014). The research explored what health literacy meant for Māori patients and whānau when they accessed palliative care. Through face-to-face interviews and focus groups we engaged with 81 people including patients, whānau, bereaved loved ones, support workers and health professionals. The poems are composite, written to bring some of our themes to life.
The first poem is titled Aue. This is a Māori lament that aligns to English words such as ‘oh no’, or ‘arrgh’, or ‘awww’. Each stanza of the poem re-presents some of the stories we heard throughout the research.
The second poem is called Tikanga. This is a Māori concept that encompasses customs, traditions and protocols. There are tikanga rituals and processes that guide all aspects of life, death, and relationships. This poem was inspired by an elderly man who explained that he would avoid seeking help from a hospice because ‘they leave tikanga at the door at those places’. His choice was to bear his pain bravely, with pride, within his cultural identity.
The third poem is called ‘People Like Me’. This is an autoethnographical reflection of what I experienced as a researcher which draws on the work of scholars such as bell hooks (1984), Laurel Richardson (1997) and Ruth Behar (1996). These and many other authors encourage researchers to use frustration and anger to inform our writing; to use our tears to fuel our need to publish our research.