Journal of Professional Nursing

Te Kapunga Putohe (The Restless Hands): A Maori Centred Nursing Practice Model     

Pipi Barton, RN, BN, Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre, Waikato DHB, and Research Assistant, Massey University – Auckland. Ngati Puhiawe, Ngati Horotakere, Ngati Hikairo ki Kawhia  
Denise Wilson, RN, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Nursing (Maori Health), Massey University – Auckland, Tainui Awhiro, Ngati Tahinga

Reference:  Barton, P., & Wilson, D. (2008). Te Kapunga Putohe (The Restess Hands): A Maori centred nursing practice model. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 24(2), 6-15.


Maori are often confronted with nursing practices and services that are at odds with their traditionally wholistic and spiritually based worldview. Keeping Maori clients the central focus of nursing practice can be challenging for nurses but is one way they can increase their efficacy when working with Maori. However, in the nursing literature there is an absence of models to guide Maori centred nursing practice, that is, models constructed within a Maori cultural context. Te Kapunga Putohe (the restless hands) is a Maori centred nursing practice model that uses the hands to illustrate how Maori knowledge and the knowledge of nurses can be incorporated into the health experiences of Maori clients. This paper explains how nurses who possess knowledge of Te Ao Maori can use Te Kapunga Putohe (the restless hands) to work with Maori in a culturally appropriate and acceptable way to improve health outcomes.  

Maori centred practice, nursing model, Maori health, indigenous, kaupapa Maori, Maori nursing 

Introduction  Nurses committed to improving health outcomes for Maori clients continue to face challenges in the delivery of culturally appropriate and acceptable health services. Too often Maori are confronted with nursing practices and services at odds with their wholistic and spiritually based worldview. Wilson (2003) claims nurses can build on existing strengths of indigenous people in order to improve their health outcomes. As most current nursing models originate from within the dominant nursing culture, Maori centred nursing practice models are not well articulated in the literature. A model for Maori centred nursing practice constructed within the cultural context of Te Ao Maori (a Maori world) can fill the gap, thereby providing guidance for working with Maori clients.  Te Kapunga Putohe (the restless hands) uses the hands to depict a partnership between nursing practice and Maori practices – it brings together the culture of nursing with that of Maori, and provides a Maori centred  ... cont.

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