Using rongoā Māori services
Find out what to do to use rongoā Māori services and what we'll pay for.
He ringa nā Rongo, he ringa nā te aroha.
The hands of peace are the hands of love.
This whakataukī is a taonga (treasure) gifted to us with great consideration by Turei Ormsby (ACC). It suggests that only good can come from the rongoā Māori pathway we're taking.
We're improving access to kaupapa Māori services to ensure services that are by Māori, with Māori, and for Māori are available for all injured New Zealanders. This includes giving better access to rongoā Māori (traditional Māori healing) as part of their rehabilitation from injury. We do this as part of our commitment to improve equity of choice, care, experience, and outcomes for Māori. It's important to us that you can access services that make you feel comfortable and reflect tikanga Māori (Māori culture and values).
About rongoā Māori
Rongoā Māori is the traditional healing system used in te ao Māori. It includes the use of plant-based remedies, spiritual and physical therapies, and has a deep connection for Māori with the natural world. Traditionally, rongoā Māori was taught within whānau under the guidance of a tohunga (Māori knowledge expert).
How we define rongoā Māori
We recognise rongoā Māori as a kaupapa Māori service. It's culturally grounded care that weaves tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori, te reo Māori, and te ao Māori through all aspects of the service. We respect that these aspects embrace ngā kaupapa tuku iho (values gifted by tupuna Māori). So we expect rongoā practitioners to whakapapa (affirm their connection) to ngā kaupapa tuku iho.
We're guided by the Waitangi Tribunal's definition from the Ko Aotearoa Tēnei report to define rongoā Māori. This definition covers various traditional Māori healing methodologies, including:
- mirimiri (bodywork)
- whitiwhiti kōrero (support and advice)
- karakia (prayer).
We acknowledge that these are only some methods of rongoā. We define rongoā Māori in the wider context of traditional Māori healing methodologies, which include but aren’t limited to the above techniques.
We don't consider healing techniques from non-Māori cultural traditions, such as reiki or hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Even if they're provided by Māori practitioners.
How you can use rongoā Māori
You must have a covered injury
If we agree to provide you with support for your injury, you can ask us to pay for rongoā Māori as part of your rehabilitation. You can request this through the ACC Recovery team member who's managing your claim, or contact us:
Or through our online service MyACC:
We'll talk to you about how your injury is affecting you and how you expect rongoā will help you to rehabilitate. You don't need a healthcare professional to refer you to a rongoā Māori practitioner, but a clinician may support your request for rongoā Māori services.
We won't refer to specific practitioners for rongoā Māori services. When you request access to rongoā Māori, we'll ask you to tell us which practitioner you would like to see, and we can help get you set up.
Your Recovery team member will need to approve your request for traditional Māori healing before you can start to receive care.
Using an ACC registered rongoā Māori practitioner
Your practitioner must register with us as a vendor if they want to provide rongoā Māori services. They can do this once they've been contacted by the Recovery team member that's managing your claim. All rongoā Māori practitioners are subject to the requirements of the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994. They must uphold the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights.
If you request rongoā Māori from a practitioner we haven’t worked with yet, we'll need to register them before approving your request.
It will be useful to know if your practitioner:
- uses the Ministry of Health's voluntary standards for rongoā Māori – the Tikanga ā-Rongoā
- is a member of Te Kāhui Rongoā – a national body of rongoā practitioners
- is endorsed by a tohunga (Māori knowledge expert) of rongoā Māori
- is endorsed or supported by their whānau, hapū, iwi, or an urban Māori authority.
How we pay for rongoā Māori
We've looked at our approach to kaupapa Māori and mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) to see how we can improve our services.
Rongoā Māori falls under the social rehabilitation category
We pay for rongoā Māori under the social rehabilitation category, which is separate from treatment. This is why you may hear ACC employees refer to rongoā as rehabilitation, not treatment.
Where appropriate, we can consider rongoā Māori services in conjunction with treatment or other rehabilitation, depending on your needs. Receiving rongoā Māori doesn't affect your entitlement to treatment.
Social rehabilitation services aim to help you return to independence. Independence can include:
- carrying out daily tasks
- participating in education
- contributing to your whānau and community.
Before we accept your claim
If you want to access rongoā Māori services before we accept your claim, you'll have to pay for it yourself.
If you haven't made a claim for your injury yet, call our Claims Helpline:
Phone 0800 101 996
You can also visit your GP, physiotherapist, or other health professional. They'll make a claim for you.
If you've experienced sexual abuse or assault, use our online search tool on the Find Support website to see the organisations that have therapists who can support you. This therapy is a free service, paid for by us.
Paying rongoā Māori practitioners
We pay or subsidise rongoā Māori practitioners for their services. We talk to you to decide the number of sessions you need, depending on your injury.
Your practitioner will let us know how your rehabilitation is going and we'll work with you, so you get what you need.
We'll keep on working to improve Māori services
We're changing our processes and developing guidance to help our people make the right decisions about requests for rongoā Māori.
If you have questions about rongoā Māori, complete the form below.