Rongoā Māori: A traditional healing choice for all

Video transcript for Rongoā Māori: A traditional healing choice for all

Visual:

Close-up of Donna Kerridge standing in front of a Māori archway. Words appear on-screen, they read: Donna Kerridge, Rongoā Māori practitioner."

Transcript:

Donna: “Rongoā Māori is different from westernised medicine”.


Transcript:

Donna: “Because we try to ensure that we help position the person to maximise their healing first.”


Visual:

Cuts to Donna speaking to the camera in an interview room in front of a dark blue background, then cuts to her greeting a client.


Transcript:

Donna: “…so we make sure that we take care of their mana, their self-esteem.”


Visual:

The client lays down on the table and Donna begins giving them rongoā Māori treatment.


Transcript:

Donna: “We make sure that all of those things that help keep them strong and more receptive to healing are in-place first and foremost.”


Visual:

Donna performs a karakia (prayer) over the client with her eyes closed.


Transcript:

Donna: “In rongoā Māori, healers will use a number of techniques,


Visual:

Close-up of Donna using traditional healing tools to perform body therapy on the client’s legs. Cuts to close-up of the client’s head.


Transcript:

Donna: “…and you might hear terms like Mirimiri, Romiromi, Karakia.”


Visual:

Wide shot of Donna performing the treatment. Cuts to close-up of Donna’s hands.


Transcript:

Donna: “Mirimiri and Romiromi are body therapies; soothing the soul.”


Visual:

Cuts to close-up of Donna using a traditional tool to heal the client’s hand. Cuts to shot of native plants in the sun.


Transcript:

Donna: “If we can settle the wairua in people, we address their anxiety, and fears, and things that block their healing.


Visual:

Cuts to a shot of Anaru Hodges standing on his property. Words appear on screen, they read: “Anaru Hodges received care from rongoā Māori practitioner Charlotte Mildon for a gardening injury.” Cuts to a close-up of Anaru’s head laying down during treatment.


Transcript:

Anaru: "I drew a lot of positives from my experience with accessing Charlotte's service.”


Visual:

Camera cuts to different areas of his body receiving rongoā Māori treatment from the practitioner. Cuts to a close-up of the practitioner’s face.


Transcript:

Anaru: "There was a lot of hidden gems there."


Visual:

Cuts to Anaru sitting on his couch talking to the camera.


Transcript:

Anaru: "The initial purpose was to address the lower back injury,


Visual:

Words appear on-screen, they read: “Anaru Hodges, Rongoā Māori client”.


Transcript:

Anaru: “...but she could see that there was other ailments that was affecting my..."


Visual:

Camera cuts to practitioner performing treatment on Anaru’s feet. Cuts to treating other areas of his body with body therapy.


Transcript:

Anaru: "...my whole tahi tinana, my whole physical body and mind."


Visual:

Cuts to a shot of native plants. Words appear on-screen, they read: “He is now aiming to use the knowledge he has gained to improve his wellbeing.” Cuts back to Anaru on the couch.


Transcript:

Anaru: "I've realised that I had strayed so far from my culture that I probably needed to come back to it."


Visual:

Cuts to Anaru receiving more body therapy. Cuts to close-up of the practitioner’s face, then to Anaru’s as he receives treatment


Transcript:

Anaru: "And those things that were harming me weren't really traditionally a part of how our people used to..."


Visual:

Cuts to Anaru mowing the lawn by his lemon tree. Cuts to Anaru picking lemons from the tree.


Transcript:

Anaru: "...how they would live, how they would take care of themselves.”


Visual:

Close-up on Anaru picking the fruit from the tree.


Transcript:

Anaru: "Their holistic approach to wellbeing was actually an approach that worked and served them well."


Visual:

Camera cuts to sun shining through native plants, then cuts to Donna Kerridge walking down a trail through some trees.


Transcript:

Donna: "The gifts that have been given to us, by those who went before us..."


Visual:

Close-up of Donna’s hands and face as she takes-in nature.


Transcript:

Donna: "...wasn't for us to keep and hold for our own self-importance."


Visual:

Close-up of Donna picking a toadstool from the ground. Cuts to Donna back in the interview room.


Transcript:

Donna: "When we accepted that knowledge and that training, it was to help all who come to us for help."


Visual:

Cuts to panning blurred shot of traditional rongoā Māori healing plants, which clears as it becomes products.


Transcript:

Donna: "We don't go 'Oh, you're from England, we can't work with you'."


Visual:

Cuts to close-up of the traditional tools that are used in rongoā Māori.


Transcript:

Donna: "It's not uniquely for Māori, its for the benefit of all who reside here."


Visual:

Cuts to Donna performing a karakia as she treats her client, before cutting to her performing body therapy with traditional tools.


Transcript:

Donna: "We're interested in the long game and ensuring that people heal for the long term, and avoid future or repetitive injuries."


Visual:

Cuts to a shot of a native plant. Words appear on-screen, they read: “ACC offers rongoā Māori to New Zealanders as per of our rehabilitation services.” Cuts to Anaru sitting on his couch.


Transcript:

Anaru: "I think it's a milestone how a Government department can acknowledge the importance of this form of therapy."


Visual:

Cuts back to Anaru receiving treatment from his practitioner.


Transcript:

Anaru: "I think it's the beginning of something that can lead to other positive health outcomes for Māori..."


Visual:

Cuts to more close-ups of the hands performing his body therapy treatment.


Transcript:

Anaru: "...and choices that they can have to reach their health goals."


Visual:

Cuts to Anaru receiving treatment on his feet. Cuts back to Donna in the interview room.


Transcript:

Donna: "My aspirations for rongoā Māori in the future..."


Visual:

Cuts back to Donna standing among the trees and native plants.


Transcript:

Donna: "...are for us to see that rongoā Māori in its own right is a health profession."


Visual:

Donna walks across a bridge with her traditional Māori walking stick (Tokotoko).


Transcript:

Donna: "I think the western health and healing system is awesome, it's not better, it's not worse."


Visual:

Cuts back to Donna performing body therapy on her client, then cuts back to the interview room.


Transcript:

Donna: "I think that all people in Aotearoa are richer for the choice."


Visual:

Donna stands in front of a nature reserve and takes it in.


Transcript:

Donna: "And I would like to see the people of Aotearoa..."


Visual:

Cuts to close-up of Donna’s face, before cutting to her performing body therapy on her client.


Transcript:

Donna: "...to be able to make informed choices about all the healing options that are available to them."


Visual:

Donna performs a final karakia on her client. The screen fades to blue. White words appear onscreen.

Prevention – He Kaupare. Care – He Manaaki. Recovery – He Whakaora. ACC Logo appears with a line saying learn more at acc.co.nz.

 

 

Rongoā practitioner Donna Kerridge and kaitawaenga Anaru Hodges believe health outcomes can be improved through traditional Māori healing methods offered by ACC


For Donna Kerridge, a stroll through the bush isn’t just a chance to unwind and breathe in some fresh air. An expert in traditional rongoā Māori healing, Donna sees the native plants of New Zealand differently to most.  

The ‘ngahere’, as the forest is known in te reo Māori, acts as Donna’s medicine cabinet. It provides a treasure trove of ingredients that can serve to heal all manner of ills and injuries.  

Chewing a kawakawa leaf for example can ease the pain of toothache while a drink made from the bark of the karamu tree can work wonders for the common cold.  

It’s that connection with nature which is at the heart of rongoā, the traditional healing system of Māori which encompasses herbal remedies, physical therapies and spiritual healing. 

Maori tupuna shows tamariki rongoa Maori healing methods

Traditionally, illness was viewed by Māori as a symptom of disharmony with nature. If a person was sick, the tohunga – rongoā Māori expert – would first determine what imbalance had occurred, before the illness could then be treated, both physically and spiritually. 

“Rongoā Māori is different from western medicine because we try to ensure that we help position the person to maximise their healing first,” Donna explains.  

“So we take care of their mana, their self-esteem and make sure all of those things that help keep them strong and more receptive to healing are in place first and foremost.” 

In addition to rakau rongoā (native flora and herbal preparations), rongoā Māori includes a range of different healing methods, such as mirimiri and romiromi (bodywork), whitiwhiti kōrero (support/advice) and karakia (prayer). 

Making a positive difference 

Anaru Hodges recently used the healing methods provided by the service after hurting his back while gardening. 

A kaitawaenga (Māori liaison advisor) for Hawke’s Bay Hospital, Anaru is a passionate advocate for Māori health and believes rongoā has the power to make a positive difference to the lives of all New Zealanders.  

He received care from Hastings-based Charlotte Mildon, one of 100 ACC-registered rongoā vendors all over the country.  

Anaru Hodges poses for a photo

I drew a lot of positives from my experience, there were a lot of hidden gems there.
- Anaru Hodges

“The initial purpose was to address the lower back injury but she could see that there were other ailments that were affecting my whole taha tinana, my whole physical body and mind.” 

Empowered to take control of wellbeing

After struggling with his weight for a number of years, Anaru is now aiming to use the knowledge he has been empowered with to improve his health and wellbeing.

“I’ve realised that I had strayed from my own culture and that I probably need to come back to it. Those things that were harming me weren’t really a part of how our people used to live and how they would take care of themselves,” he says.

Shot of jars of rongoa Maori healing methods

“They had a lot of knowledge and, to a certain extent, scientific methods that showed their holistic approach to wellbeing worked and served them well,” he adds.

“It’s helped me personally because it’s made me more aware of my behaviour, of how to take better care of myself. It’s given me that light bulb moment.”

For the benefit of all

Used by Māori in Aotearoa for centuries, rongoā remains a popular healing option and is offered as a service by ACC.  

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. 

Importantly, the service can be requested by people of all ethnicities who feel it can help in their recovery, not just Māori. 

“We don’t go, ‘Oh, you’re from England, we can’t work with you’, Donna explains.

Donna Kerridge poses for a photo

It’s not uniquely for Māori, it’s for the benefit of all.
- Donna Kerridge

“And ACC is funding this because we know it works, we wouldn’t want to fund it if it didn’t. We’re interested in the long game and ensuring that people heal for the long-term and avoid future or repetitive injuries going forward.” 

Improving the future of Māori health 

Anaru is excited at the dawn of what he feels is a new era for Māori health in Aotearoa.  

“I think we’re encountering a time when there’s a significant shift in awareness and consciousness that there are alternatives to western medicine,” he says.  

“I think it’s a real milestone how a government department can acknowledge the importance of this form of therapy. It’s the beginning of something that can lead to positive health outcomes for Māori.”  

Traditional rongoa Maori healing tools

Donna is equally enthused at the prospect of rongoā playing a key role in the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders. 

“I think the western health and healing system is awesome – it’s not better, it’s not worse,” she says. 

“But the more we bring to the table, the more choice the people we serve will have. I think all people in Aotearoa are richer for the choice. Offering more choice can only strengthen their recovery.”  

ACC and rongoā Māori

  • Our data shows that Māori are more likely to sustain a serious, life-changing injury but are less likely to access ACC services 
  • The data tells us Māori are 25% less likely to make a claim with us than non-Māori
  • As of at the end of August 2021, we had approved rongoā Māori for around 1,200 claims and funded nearly 7,245 sessions 
  • One in four of those clients hadn’t previously received other forms of ACC care or treatment before benefitting from rongoā 
  • Rongoā Māori is available to clients on request and can be used as standalone care or in conjunction with other treatment 
  • There are around 100 ACC-registered rongoā Māori practitioners in New Zealand, from Te Araroa to Dunedin  

More information

More information for clients and practitioners on rongoā Māori is available on the ACC website.  

ACC - Rongoā