An app to help Māori affected by mate wareware
(dementia) and to raise awareness of the disease has been
The app, Mate Wareware, was
developed by researchers from the University of Auckland and
AUT University following the largest-ever study of Māori
affected by dementia.
“Kaumatuatanga Ō Te Roro –
The Ageing Brain”, a Health Research Council-funded
project, found the disease is poorly understood within
Māori communities and whānau have difficulty accessing
information that might help.
In that 2019 study,
researchers from the University of Auckland held seven hui
with 250 kaumātua around the country and interviewed eight
whānau living with dementia.
The aim was to find out
what they knew about dementia and what particular
experiences and challenges they faced.
Dudley from the University of Auckland and Brain Research
New Zealand, says she is delighted that the app is now in
the hands of those who need it.
“The Mate Wareware
app has been developed to be Māori-friendly and has been
co-created through collaboration with end-users such as
Kaumātua and whānau who helped identify topics, and
user-tested it,” she says.
“Tikanga Māori is
central to the app, with an introduction and karakia by
kaumātua, and everyone featured in it is Māori – from the
social worker to the whānau affected by mate
Topics covered in the app include what
mate wareware is and what Māori understandings of it is,
the types and causes of it, how to look after whānau who
are affected by it and how to identify if someone might be
suffering from it.
Research has shown that numbers of
kaumātua living beyond 65 years and 80 years of age has
almost doubled in the last decade. In 2011, there were 1,928
Māori estimated to have dementia, and this number is
projected to reach around 4,500 by 2026.
It is predicted
that Māori will make up 8% of New Zealanders living with
dementia by 2038, according to Alzheimers NZ. There is
evidence that Māori are significantly younger when a
diagnosis of dementia is made (8 years younger than Pākehā
and 3 years younger than Pasifika).
That means a
significant burden on whānau in terms of caring
responsibilities, Dr Dudley says.
Prof Peter Thorne from
the University of Auckland, Co-Director at Brain Research
New Zealand, says that the Mate Wareware app is a wonderful
development in the national action on
“Importantly, having been developed by Māori
for Māori, it will be an accessible resource to
specifically help Māori communities understand mate
wareware and its impact. Brain Research New Zealand is
extremely proud to support Dr Dudley and her team in the
research and development of this app.”
of the app was funded by Brain Research New Zealand and the
MedTech Centre of Research Excellences, and co-lead by Dr
Makarena Dudley and Marcus