A new app focusing on maternal and tamariki wellbeing is being launched today in Ōtaki. The free app - Tuku Iho - gives māmā and whānau hapū access to the wisdom and knowledge that would once have been passed on from their pakeke and kaumātua.

The development of Tuku Iho was led by the National SUDI Prevention Coordination Service (NSPCS) at Hāpai Te Hauora Māori Public Health. Partners were Māori film and creative arts centre the Māoriland Charitable Trust; creative agency KIWA Digital; and the Hira Programme in Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand which focuses on enabling digital technologies to make health care more accessible and equitable.

Selah Hart, CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora, says the way knowledge about pregnancy, birth and caring for pēpi and mokopuna is transferred has changed substantially over generations.

"Pre-colonisation, whānau thrived by living and working on their own whenua and papa kāinga and knowledge and skills were naturally passed down in many ways. However, many factors have changed this, and the way we live now requires additional knowledge transfer options for whānau.

"The ongoing workforce shortages are impacting us particularly when it comes to having enough Māori midwives available and able to care for our own. Due to a continued lack of support for Māori midwives to practice on their own without burn-out, antenatal care and education delivered in a kaupapa Māori way is hard to come by for whānau hapū.

"We recognised this gap and developed the Tuku Iho app. It is somewhere whānau hapū, māmā hāpu and māmā hou can go to find trusted information about hauora hapūtanga, pēpi ora and SUDI prevention embedded from the world view of Māori."

Fay Selby-Law, General Manager NSPCS, says Tuku Iho was co-designed and determined from whānau voices.

"Wānanga were held with whānau, including Māori midwives, but as anticipated, the COVID-19 situation forced these to be held on-line and in small whānau groups. Interestingly this allowed more kōrero to be shared. Gaps were identified, current needs voiced and whānau aspirations shared.

"Experts in specific fields were identified and different support sought - for example, from the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC), breastfeeding experts, and kaitito oriori. This fed into the development of the content of the app, and the script that was written."

Libby Hakaria from Māoriland says the app has a number of whānau-based videos and animations, produced by them, from whānau and kaimahi hauora. KIWA Digital built and tested the app.

"The content of the app was also reviewed to ensure it was simple, concise and easy to understand," she says.

Tuku Iho is available to read and listen to in English and te reo Māori, including pronunciation support for te reo.

The app is free, and can be downloaded here