Rongoā Māori - Northland Story
For Te Houtaewa Māori Trust, their primary purpose is to provide product and services to the response of the Te Tai Tokerau community request for “Healthy Whanau, Happy Whanau and Our Voices are Heard.”
As a result, we have been working with Kaumatua & Kuia, Tohunga, Healers and Practitioners to provide Rongoa Māori services and model of care at Kaitaia Hospital. We are taking a whānau centred approach – If a patient is using or wants to use Rongoā we are here to advocate and support that treatment plan for the whānau. Enabling the community to access culturally appropriate care in Māori values nurtures cultural identity and affirms the legitimacy of mātauranga Māori at the same time ensuring that our practice and service is for all.
For Teresa Hart making rongoā Māori an integral part of the health services as a dual provision is her drive. Although initially she never asked for the role, she is humbled by the fact that the Kuia & Kaumatua knew of her destiny prior to her time and planted seeds all along her journey. “What we learn in our deepest grief helps us to overcome and to be there to help others”. Hart acknowledges all the influences that have supported her on this journey.
“I have a responsibility to Ngāpuhi Nui Tonu Rongoā. Te Houtaewa Maori Trust, is the kaitiaki to NNTR, so when the role was available to lead their trust, the whakapapa was there for Rongoa and I realised it was now time to activate what was being prepared for so long. Hart, the Kaiwhakahaere Lead for the Te Houtaewa Maori Trust, was is engaging with Rongoa Maori networks to setup facilities in communities purposely for whanau to attend, a reality in the far north.
Dr. Joel Pirini (Kaitaia Hospital) “The western or the mainstream health model is recognized that we don’t have all the answers and that maybe the solutions we’ve tried to come up with overtime haven’t been very patient or whanau cantered and so we’ve reflected on that and gone out to the people and asked what they want what they need”.
“Rongoā is a traditional Māori practice of healing gifts, handed down to the chosen one at the exact time that it is required for the giver and the receiver. that involves karakia (prayer) whiti-whiti korero (talk) mirimiri (massage) and rakau rongoa (native herbal remedies).
The healing starts instantly when the mauri connects. Taha wairua (spiritual), Taha hinengaro (emotion), Taha tinana (physical) Taha whānau (family and social) and Whenua (land and roots).
Hart, who was born and bred in Ngāpuhi, returned home from Melbourne after 20 years to be closer to her Dad as his health deteriorated, which would be a turning point for Hart.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to be that for Dad but he made me promise that I would look after many more people going forward,” she says.
Hart now leads a Pilot Project for rongoā Māori in the Kaitaia Hospital which she says is growing significantly in awareness and popularity.
“Because of COVID-19 our people in the far north are dealing with pressures they haven’t faced before,” she says. “People are really struggling.”
She says rongoā Māori is for all ages and ethnicities.
Some whānau are bringing long-term cancer patients to use rongoā Māori. Kaitaia Hospital is right alongside Kaitaia College and as a result they get a number of students who coming “running through the doors” for help with sensitive claims.
One of the barriers Hart came across in delivering rongoā Māori at Kaitaia Hospital was they were operating in a borrowed space (the marae) as Kaitaia Hospital is currently going through renovations.
“We looked at our operation in the new world with COVID-19 and we wanted to be able to operate regardless of the Alert Level,” she says.
To fix the problem, Hart has set up a cabin at the front of the Kaitaia Hospital which is dedicated to rongoā Māori.
“We are an essential service for many people. We need to be able to serve our people at all levels and ensure they feel safe when they come into that space.
“We don’t want to be in a situation where COVID-19 hits and we are pushed away. We have to come forward more.”
Used by Māori in Aotearoa for centuries, rongoā remains a popular healing option.
As of June 2020, rongoā Māori has been offered as a service by ACC.
If ACC agrees to provide cover for a person’s injury, the person can ask ACC to pay for rongoā Māori as part of their rehabilitation.
Hart says it’s “awesome” that ACC has recognised rongoā Māori.
“It’s acknowledges that rongoā Māori contributes to the care and recovery of that person,” she says.
“I’m experiencing an overwhelming expression of interest to be part of that, both in our practitioners and our clients.”
From June 2020 to August 2021 there have been 805 people use rongoā Māori services in Northland.
Māori (576) make up the majority ahead of NZ European / Pakeha (183), Pasifika (25) and other ethnicities (21).
ACC Tumu Pae Ora (Chief Māori and Equity Officer) Michelle Murray says the rongoā Māori service is a programme by Māori, with Māori, for Māori and available to people of all ethnicities.
“We have enabled access to rongoā Māori services (traditional Māori healing) to improve equity of choice, access, experience, and outcomes for Māori,” says Murray.
“We recognise we need to offer a choice of support services that reflect tikanga Māori and te ao Māori to uphold our Te Tiriti o Waitangi responsibilities.”
Murray says ACC data shows Māori are more likely to sustain a serious, life-changing injury, but less likely to access ACC services.
“We want to bring more Māori to ACC to support better health outcomes; enabling tikanga-aligned services is one way we can do that,” she says.
“It’s positive to see that two thirds of those using our rongoā Māori service are Māori.”
ACC data shows that 83 percent of clients who received rongoā care in the last calendar year no longer need ongoing support from ACC. And of the clients that have used the service only 1.2 percent have lodged a subsequent claim (for the same injury site) to date.
Hart says relationships are critical to achieving positive health outcomes in the far north. She is committed to fulfilling her promise.
“A lot of Māori simply don’t understand the options that are available to them so we need to build that awareness,” she says.
“The message is getting out to all ages about the benefits of rongoā Māori and there is more to come. We are focused on getting our people the help and the support they need.”
ACC and rongoā Māori
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IN PARTNERSHIP WITH AIO SOLUTIONS LTD.
te houtaewa challenge
The youth version of a Marathon Team Relay. Exactly the same in terms of requirements to participate but sponsored by Te Houtaewa Maori Charitable Trust to ensure that this korero will be here for Mokopuna of tomorrow.
This is created by Tamariki for Tamariki, following in the footsteps of our Tupuna and the Wero “Te Houtaewa Challenge”, known for his incredible athletic abilities.
In teams of six, you will form a relay team where you will all participate in the 42km Marathon course, each completing 6km of the journey towards the finish line of Paripari Domain, Ahipara. At the end of the relay, you will be welcomed into a festival where your whanau and friends are encouraged to come along to help cheer you and your team in.
Anyone that’s a taitamariki/youth!
Taitamariki/youth is any persons between the ages of 13 – 22 years old, so anyone aged between 13 – 22 years old can enter and be part of the Taitamariki Ultra Team Relay Challenge.
We want this challenge to be inclusive to all youth in our community so we encourage anyone in this age range to come together, form a team and take part in the challenge!
We want to break down the financial barriers for our taitamariki (youth) in order for them to be a part of this challenge! Register a team and together decide, what and how you will contribute.
KOHA – (Maori custom of a gift, present, offering, donation, or contribution) toward this event.
It is up to you to form a team! You can team up together with classmates from school, like a sports team, as a church group, as a whanau or just as a unique team!
Some things to know
The challenge takes place on Saturday 19 March 2022 at 8:15 AM.
The challenge begins at Hukatere on Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē (Ninety Mile Beach) and finishes at PariPari Domain, 163 Foreshore Road, Ahipara. 19
As this race takes place on Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē (Ninety Mile Beach), we recommend 4×4 wheel drive vehicle in order to handle the soft terrain.
The relay is a 6-person team with each team member running a distance of 6km. The changeover will be in accordance with standard rules whereby athletes must touch hands in the designated transition area.
In case of injury or illness during the race which forces the athlete to abandon the competition, the next stage runner may start immediately after an official has verified the situation.
All participants are expected to carry a kumara and every team relay member to collect and carry the additional kumara at each designated station. Teams must All cross over the finish line together. All participants are to “return a kumara” to the Village Pātaka.
Your team must supply their own 4×4 vehicle with a designated team driver who will be there to support the running members by driving along the beach to the start point of each leg.
Ko tōu reo, ko tōku reo, te tuakiri tangata.Tīhei uriuri, tīhei nakonako!Ko Kurahaupo te wakaKo Pohurihanga te rangatiraKo Maungapiko te maungaKo Parengarenga te moanaKo Waiora te maraeKo Ngāti Kuri te iwiHe uri tēnei nō ngā iwi o Muriwhenua. Kua roa nei te wā e noho ana ki te rohe o Ngāti kahuwhakaako tamariki ana.