Experiences of Elder Abuse in Pacific Island Communities of Aotearoa New Zealand: a Cultural Lens

Sandra Thaggard, Juliet Boon-Nanai, El Shadan Tautolo, Jed Montayre

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to uncover some experiences and perceptions of elder abuse among New Zealand Pacific elders within their own communities. A qualitative design was used, in which data were collected and analysed, and meanings were ascribed, based on the cultural perspective and philosophical worldview of Pacific Island elders and the Fonofale model of holistic well-being. The Fonofale framework, congruent with a Pacific worldview, allowed for a guided understanding of abuse, as perceived by 50 older Pacific Island participants. In this study, the themes of abuse included psychological, financial, spiritual, neglect and cultural abuse in the form of disrespect. Importantly, spiritual and cultural abuse often overlaid the other forms, and intergenerational differences emerged as a prominent factor contributing to abuse. Shame, fear and loyalty negatively impacted help seeking behaviours. The Fonofale model of health and well-being was used to evaluate the findings, and inform evidence-based research that can guide healthcare professionals when addressing abuse within their own individual Pacific communities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Population Ageing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Elder abuse
  • Fonofale model of health and wellbeing
  • New Zealand
  • Pacific
  • Talanoa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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