Stroke survivor leads Maori stroke awareness work in Lakes
4/10/2017 8:26:07 a.m.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Stroke survivor leads Maori stroke awareness work in Lakes DHB area

Rukingi Haupapa suffered a stroke 12 years ago, having gone to bed one night, woken up the following morning and lost his memory.

He said after they received the diagnosis everyone in his family was shocked, having no real knowledge at that time of what a stroke is.
"I woke up with it so I didn't know what had happened.

Scroll forward 12 years and piece by piece he’s been able to remember life before his stroke. He applied the same determination to finding out about stroke and its effects.

He said when he began his recovery and got out and about, he found that many other people around him had also experienced stroke. This led to his whānau starting up a Māori support group.

Even though he had been advised after his stroke to not do anything that would be too taxing for his brain, Rukingi decided to head to university to get a Bachelor of Teaching, inspite of how stressful it could be.

After finishing his degree Rukingi then decided to do his Masters, with his thesis looking at Māori stroke victims and whānau. He ended up talking with nine families from within Te Arawa who had all been affected by stroke. He followed the stories of two stroke families in Maketu, five in Rotorua and two in Taupo. One of the families in his research has helped organise the Taupo Mai i Maketu ki Tongariro stroke awareness event this week. 

Rukingi says his work for the thesis helped to give people the chance to say how their stroke had affected them. One trend to emerge was that in hospital patients learn about the physical changes and how to cope with them, but they often found gaps for the Māori wellbeing of tinana, hinengaro, and wairua supports when back at home.

His hope was for this thesis to help people understand some of the struggles stroke victims face, and how whānau developed and used successful interventions in their lives. He has now begun work on his doctorate.

Rukingi has helped organise stroke events in Maketu, Rotorua, and Taupo this week to encourage Maori to learn more about strokes, how to prevent them, and to support stroke victims and their whānau.