Rongoā medicine

Combining traditional healing and western medical approaches is increasingly common in the health sector, as we strive to be more responsive and accessible to Māori.

E hoa mā! Inā te ora o te tangata.

O friends! Here indeed is the health of mankind. 

Ngā Pēpeha a ngā Tīpuna, The Sayings of the Ancestors, Nā Hirini Moko Mead rāua ko Neil Grove, Victoria University Press (2001).

New Zealand has a long history of rongoā Māori (traditional healing) and Māori a long history of integrating traditional and western health practices.

He whakamārama mō te rongoā

Explaining rongoā

Rongoā Māori is traditional healing, characterised by:

  • oral transmission of knowledge
  • herbal remedies
  • physical therapies
  • spiritual healing.

It is practised by tohunga (healers).

It aims to recreate balance, harmony and order within the spiritual, psychological, emotional, cultural, social, environmental, physical and family dimensions.

Te hiranga o te rongoā

Understanding its importance

Research shows rongoā Māori plays an important role in the lives of many whānau. 

Rongoā Māori is prized for its holistic system of healing.

It is valued for its links to cultural revitalisation, the nurturing and passing on of Māori language and traditions, iwi development and empowerment more generally.

It is a changing practice, with its sustainable development the focus of many people.

Further reading

Demystifying Rongoā Māori: Traditional Māori Healing (BPAC NZ (Better Medicine) article)(external link)

Rongoā Māori: Traditional Māori healing (Ministry of Health)(external link)

The Future of Rongoā Māori (Canterbury University)(external link)

Mapping the Themes of Māori Talk about Health (NZ Medical Journal article)(external link)