Ngā Rongoā Māori




To contribute towards transforming Hauora Māori from one of our country’s most significant health risks to one of our most outstanding achievements for the people of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

While targeted at Māori clients/whānau, Rongoā providers work within Māori -centric paradigm of Kaitiakitanga, Kotahitanga, Manaakitanga, Aroha, Tika, and Pono; therefore, services will also be available to and include the people of other cultures who choose these services. This investment will allow for the operational management, implementation and evaluation of the Traditional Rongoā Māori services and programs based in Te Hiku o te Ika and surrounding districts of Te Tai Tokerau. 

Rongoā Māori is an informed body of knowledge that has, as its core, the enhancement of Māori wellbeing. In this way, Rongoā Māori differs from a Western medical paradigm, whose focus is primarily the absence of health, wellbeing and treatments/interventions to return to a state of health. Traditional healing is formulated in a Māori cultural context, in which the understanding of events leading to ill health and its impacts are addressed through a range of culturally bounded responses. These responses include 

  • Rākau Rongoā (native flora herbal preparations), 
  • Mirimiri (massage), 
  • Karakia (prayer). 

There will be a focus on whānau/patients that chose not to attend their clinics or not accessing care from GP services in the community. Priority groups would include 

  • whānau Māori, who are over 65 years, 
  • whānau members undergoing treatment for cancer and blood conditions, 
  • Hapū mama and Frontline health and disability workforce. 


The Rongoā māori service delivery model is “Te Kauwae Runga Te Kauwae Raro“, a traditional Tikanga Māori approach to assessment and care planning. The services will be provided in rural and urban community spaces, preferably marae, and outside of clinical settings during regular business hours. However, where requested by the whanau or client deemed safe and appropriate by THMCT, the Rongoā Māori Provider may consider providing services in an alternative environment.

How is this initiative a response to the ongoing impact of Covid-19?

THMCT service objectives respond to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the need to mitigate the impact of external threats to whanau, hapu, Iwi and Māori communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

THMCT Rongoā Māori providers are deemed Essential Workers, and they are prepared to be frontline, providing services for whānau, hapū and Iwi. They will ascertain data and information on service delivery uptake. THMCT Rongoā Māori Providers will collaborate with broader stakeholders that support the success of their initiatives, particularly Māori organisations, including hapu and iwi authorities, to deliver services that meet the needs of whanau, hapu and Iwi.

Services will be integrated with other associated services as appropriate to ensure continuity of care, considering the intended holistic approach and kaupapa Māori principles. All services will maintain effective linkages with local agencies involved in the Covid-19 response and essential health and disability services delivery.

How will this help our community?

Of the people, for the people, by the people: He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

Enabling Māori to access culturally appropriate care rooted in Māori values nurtures cultural identity and affirms the legitimacy of mātauranga Māori (Ahuriri-Driscoll, Baker, Hepi & Hudson, 2009).

How do we know that the community supports our initiative?

Anecdotal evidence shows that there is high usage of these services by whānau throughout Te Tai Tokerau. Whānau has called for widespread, fully funded Rongoā Māori services to be available and support that by collecting data and information within a Tikanga Māori settings. This will contribute to normalising practices and services, thereby contributing to transforming Hauora Māori from one of our country's most significant health risks to one of our most outstanding achievements for the people of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

In December 2019, the community engagement and consultation phase of the Rongoā Māori Project was completed. Previous wider engagement in 2018/19 with whānau and stakeholders in Te Tai Tokerau brought about their collective vision "Happy whānau, Healthy Whānau, Our Voices are Heard" and a clear call for Rongoā Māori services to be an integral health service pathway. Feedback and areas of prioritisation have been captured in the document "Te Reo o Te Iwi" and subsequently reaffirmed in the Northland DHB Transition Plan, June 2019 - December 2020.

One of the service gaps identified by whānau was limited and, in some instances, lack of access to Rongoā Māori services for whānau, hapū and Iwi. This is completely appropriate given the outcome of the Waitangi Tribunal Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry (Wai 2575 claim), which supported claimants critique of the lack of mātauraga Māori in health.