Lyn Doherty is of Ngati Porou and Ngapuhi iwi descent. She is a mother of four and grandmother of six children, and is a PhD student in the Faculty of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland. For the past 22 years she has worked in special education with a focus on advocacy for Kaupapa Maori service development for Maori, firstly as an early intervention teacher – then as a psychologist within government organisations.
Lyn believes passionately in the idea that the parent-child relationship is a critical source of resilience at individual, whānau and community levels. Fifteen years ago Lyn helped establish Ohomairangi Trust, a not for profit, NGO, Kaupapa Maori early intervention service, to better support whanau and to develop this idea in a practical way.
A consequence of this was the establishment of a remarkable programme known as ‘Hoki ki te Rito – Oranga Whānau’. The programme is held one a day week, over a 14 week period. Hoki ki te Rito builds on relationship and attachment based parenting courses for Māori mothers and includes fathers on the programme, within the context of whānau ora (family wellbeing). There are sometimes four generations of whānau attending at any one time as a children’s group runs at the same time as the parents are in session.
Research has been an essential part of this work and the basis of Lyn’s PhD. Her thesis explores the varying worldviews that contest the area of optimum childrearing against the backdrop of the quantitative and qualitative data collected as part of the Hoki ki te Rito programme.