Carrie Clifford

Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu

Dr. Carrie Clifford is passionate about cultural and intergenerational well-being practices and their potential contributions to overall hauora.

She has experience researching how pūrākau can be incorporated into modern mental health practices. Pūrākau is a powerful form of indigenous storytelling, which is passed intergenerationally and plays a critical role in preserving and communicating Māori knowledge through space and time.  

In early 2023, she obtained a PhD from Te Whare Wananga o Otago, the University of Otago, where she explored the use of pūrākau, its benefits, and its potential adoption into the mental health space. This included developing a framework - Toka Āhuru - to support safe, meaningful, mana-enhancing use of pūrākau and other cultural practices in mental health settings.

Carrie is dedicated to highlighting the significant cultural benefits of pūrākau, which intertwines Te Reo, Tikanga, and Te Ao Māori values and their associated therapeutic and well-being benefits. Carrie hopes to see the ongoing reinstatement of pūrākau widely within the community, kura, and more broadly in Aotearoa. 

During her Ph.D, she applied for and received the Fulbright Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga graduate award. This opportunity led her to travel to the University of Colorado in Denver and the John Hopkins University in Baltimore in the US as a visiting researcher. Her research in the US allowed her to collaborate with international researchers to examine the use of Indigenous storytelling practices among Native American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian peoples. She continues collaborating with her colleagues on Indigenous health-related kaupapa to advance health. 

Carrie is a qualified and practising clinical psychologist, collaborating primarily with Māori and Pasifika whānau. 


Carrie Clifford, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu – Fulbright Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Graduate Award

PhD graduand explores the cultural and therapeutic benefits of Māori story telling

ResearchGate – Carrie Clifford

Carrie Clifford | PhD graduate

Developing a strong family narrative key to overcoming COVID-19

Carrie Clifford awarded Fulbright Award

Analysis of Māori Specific Alcohol and Other Drug Health Messaging in Aotearoa

Research Publications

Exploring the feasibility of validating early developmental screening tools for American Indian and Alaska Native children

Native American and Māori Youth: How Culture and Community Provide the Foundation of Resilience in the Face of Systemic Adversity

Centering Indigenous Knowledges and Worldviews: Applying the Indigenist Ecological Systems Model to Youth Mental Health and Wellness Research and Programs. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Community perspectives on developmental screening of American Indian and Alaska Native children.

An exploration of the use of Māori and indigenous storytelling in mental health settings (Doctoral dissertation, University of Otago)

Māori graduate students hopes,reflections and recommendations for Psychology in Aotearoa. Psychology Aotearoa

Community perspectives on developmental screening of American Indian and Alaska Native children

Tino Rangatiratanga and Well-being: Māori Self Determination in the Face of Covid-19. Frontiers in Sociology, 6, 1-10

Indigenous research collaborations could better inform the future of psychology in Aotearoa

Developing a strong family narrative key to overcoming COVID-19

He Rangatira Our Leaders

Tish Siaosi

Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri, Ngāti Toa, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Tama

As a mental health nurse and health consultant, Tish Siaosi focuses on incorporating Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles into her well-being support.

Kerri Nuku

Ngāi Tai, Ngāti Kahungunu

Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei hea te kōmako e kō?
Kī mai ki ahau
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
Māku e kī atu
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata, hī!

I am grateful for the opportunity to write about this extraordinary wahine toa. I am lucky to have done my psychiatry training in Sylvia’s wake.

Professor Rawinia Higgins has dedicated many years of service as one of the country's leading experts on Māori language revitalisation, specialising in Language Planning and Policy. She leads and develops many initiatives that provide better outcomes and opportunities for Māori.