Bula vakavanua and the spiritual disruption of elder abuse: A Fijian perspective

Main Article Content

Sandra Thaggard
El-Shadan Tautolo

Keywords

elder abuse, respect, fijian, socio-cultural, spiritual values, vakarokoroko, vanua, dela ni yavu, bula vakavanua, talanoa, new zealand, pacific, fonofale paradigm

Abstract

ABSTRACT


Introduction: This article used a cultural lens to explore issues of elder abuse from a Fijian perspective. Fijian tradition of respect for the older adult is a priority and any mistreatment is viewed as a spiritual disconnection and most injurious to God, the land and the people; their ancestral foundations and traditional customs.


Methods: The Fonofale model, as a pan-pacific approach was employed as a methodological paradigm to explore elements of abuse within a larger study of 50 Pacific Island elders from Pacific communities of Aotearoa, New Zealand. This article examines perceptions of abuse as seen from a Fijian perspective.


Findings: The findings argue that all forms of abuse; physical, psychological, financial or neglect are seen as a spiritual disconnection to the very foundation of what it is to be Fijian, referred to as bula vakavanua - the Fijian way of life.


Conclusion: Practitioners with the possibility of confronting situations of abuse may benefit from a cultural awareness programme, addressing the many different ways that abuse may be construed from within a culture other than the dominant one in society.

Abstract 79 | PDF Downloads 10

References

References

1. World Health Organisation (2008). A global response to elder abuse and neglect: building primary health care capacity to deal with the problem worldwide: main report. WHO: Geneva, Switzerland.
2. Dong, X. & Simon, M. A. (2013). Elder abuse as a risk factor for hospitalization in older persons. JAMA Intern Med, 173(10), 911-7.
3. Baker, M.W. (2016). Elder Mistreatment: Risk, Vulnerability, and Early Mortality. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 12(6), 313-321.
4. Lachs, M. S., Williams, C. S., O'brien, S., Pillemer, K. A., & Charlson, M. E. (1998). The mortality of elder mistreatment. Jama, 280(5), 428-432.
5. Age Concern New Zealand (2018). Available from: https://www.ageconcernauckland.org.nz/elder-abuse-awareness-day. (Accessed 24 Feb. 2020).
6. Statistics New Zealand (2013). Census totals by topic – national highlights. Available from: https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/2018-census-totals-by-topic-national-highlights (Accessed 24 Feb. 2020).
7. Ravuvu, A. (1988). Development or dependence: the pattern of change in a Fijian village. Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies USP.
8. Ryle, J. (2010). My God, my land : interwoven paths of Christianity and tradition in Fiji. Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
9. Batibasaqa, K., Overton. J., & Horsley, P. (1999). Vanua: land, people and culture in Fiji. In J. Overton & R. Scheyvens, Eds. Strategies for sustainable development: experiences from the Pacific. Zed Books: London and New York. p. 100-106.
10. Ravuvu, A. (1983). The Fijian way of life. Institute of Pacific Studies, The University of the South Pacific
11. Ravuvu, A. (1987). The Fijian ethos. Institute of Pacific Studies, The University of the South Pacific.
12. Pulotu-Endemann, F.K. (2009). Fonofale: Model of health. Available from: http://www.hauora.co.nz/resources/Fonofalemodelexplanation.pdf. (Accessed 24 Feb. 2020).
13. Otsuka, S. (2006). Talanoa Research: Culturally appropriate research design in Fiji. In P.L. Jeffrey, Ed. AARE 2005 international education research conference: Creative dissent-constructive solution. AARE: Sydney.
14. Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.
15. Nainoca, W., A. (2011). The influence of the Fijian way of life (bula vakavanua) on community-based marine conservation (CBMC) in Fiji, with a focus on social capital and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). Massey University: Auckland, New Zealand.
16. Dong, X. (2015). Elder abuse: Systematic review and implications for practice. American Geriatrics Society, 63(6), 1214-1238.
17. Groot, S. A. M., Hodgetts, D., Nikora, L. W., & Rua, M. (2010). Tōku tūrangawaewae: Culture, identity, and belonging for Māori homeless people. In J.S.T. Rita & S.M. Healy, Eds. 4th International Traditional Knowledge Conference 2010. Auckland: Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga: New Zealand's Maori Centre of Research Excellence. p. 125-133.