I am honoured to live in NZ and to be able to learn about Rongoa Rakau and Rongoa Maori.
Rongoa Maori is a set of tikanga (practices) individual to each iwi (tribe), whanau (family) or practitioner. Rongoa Maori consists of
- rongoa rakau (New Zealand Plant Medicine)
- mirimiri (Maori massage)
- rituals and ritual practice
- recipes and techniques for healing and manufacturing rongoa rakau
- karakia (prayers) and incantations
A key principle in Rongoa Maori is the kaupapa of the land. In this we are kaitiaki (caretakers) of the land, from which our healing plants grow. An intimate relationship with Papatuanuku (earth mother) is what keeps our wairua (spirit) healthy. We must show her our respect and care in order to stay healthy ourselves.
The concept of Te Whare Tapa Wha describes the four cornerstones of Maori health,
- taha tinana – the aspect of physical health
- taha wairua – the aspect of spiritual health
- taha whanau – the aspect of family health, relationships & belonging
- taha hinengaro – the aspect of mental health, thoughts, feelings & mind
The body, the spirit, the mind and the family are equally important in Maori health and so they are for Rongoa Maori.
Taha Wairua is the essence of Rongoa Maori. Without taha wairua rongoa rakau is empty and looses it’s purpose and healing. Taha Wairua describes wholeness, a connection to the source through being a part of the whole. The connection between the physical and the spiritual is made though Mauri. In other cultures this is referred to as Chi / Qi / Ki or lifeforce energy. It is within all living beings and needs to be nourished. A strong Mauri can help us heal ourselves and maintain good health.