The place of rongoa Maori in practice.
Subject: Maoris (Influence)
New Zealand culture (Influence)
Folk medicine (Analysis)
Medicine, Primitive (Analysis)
Health care industry (Social aspects)
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: August, 2011 Source Volume: 17 Source Issue: 7
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs Computer Subject: Health care industry
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 266344827
Full Text: Traditional rongoa Maori healing is the subject of a $1 million research grant from the Health Research CounciL. A trio of researchers from Whanganui-based Whakauae Research for Maori Health Development (WRMHD) will work with Canterbury University Maori heaLth and well-being lecturer Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll and rongoa Maori practitioner Albert Stewart of Tairawhiti. The three-year project will look at rongoa Maori in a contemporany health care setting and determine what types of service arrangements best support and maintain the cultural integrity of traditional rongoa.

Amohia Boulton from WRMHD said they hoped to demystify the sector while building on previous research. "From the study a 'map' of rongoa service providers and a service development model will be developed.., as a practical tool to support and inform practitioners who wish to improve their rongoa service," she said.

The Waitangi Tribunal has recently released a major reporl Ko Aotearoa Tenei, into the claim known as Wai 262. This concerns the place of Maori culture, identity and traditional knowledge in contemporary New Zealand law, and government policy and practice. The claim is about matauranga Maori, ie the unique Maori way of viewing the world, encompassing both traditional knowledge and culture. The report includes a chapter on rongoa Maori (see p15).

Far North nurse practitioner (NP) Adie Murray uses rongoa Maori in her practice. "Rongoa Maori is complex. Herbal preparations and use are part of it. So, roo, are other dimensions of well-being Maori consider when caring for a person. These include te taha, waiora, hinengaro, tinana, mauriora, toiora, whenua, whakapapa and te reo. I use these care dimensions in an appropriate manner. How I do this safely is articulated in the Nursing Council's competencies for a whanau ora NP with prescribing rights."

Using rongoa Maori was an holistic approach to heaLth care. "I will greet my clients in te reo Maori. Clinical examination involves a head-to-toe assessment including all the care dimensions. If a client chooses to discuss whakapapa with me as a Maori clinician, I am happy to do so. When choosing treatment options, my care must be appropriate (mauriora/toiora--culturally/environmentally acceptable), accessible (whenua--where do they live?) and affordable."

Murray says it is not unusual for a Maori per son, taught or brought up with rongoa Maori, to use it wthin their whanau. "In my opinion, use of rongoa Maori in one's life is to be well That is my understanding of the broader context of rongoa, as my late father advised."

The Tribunal's report states more widespread use of rongoa Maori services would help the current Maori health crisis and Murray agrees. "If we view rongoa Maori in its broader context, which includes 'traditional medicines, karakia and ritenga', then I believe, as a nation, we can't afford not to use it."

She believes both Maori and non-Maori clients accessing care should have choices about their care and treatment. "Why not rongoa Maori? I think public acceptance of rongoa Maori practice depends on transparency so the public can have confidence in its safety. I can't speak on behalf of all rongoa Maori practitioners, but from my viewpoint, as a Maori clinician using the dimensions of rongoa Maori, I can say my care is transparent, is based on both cultural competencies and science, is provided within a framework of evidenced-based best practice and is monitored to ensure appropriateness. This approach ensures public confidence."
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