Hauora Hokianga is planting more native trees to develop their Ara Rongoā Hikoi Whakaora, wellbeing and healing pathway, which will eventually loop around the entire hospital site. Their vision is to reframe the hospital from a place of illness to a place of wellbeing and healing.
Taumata Rongoā o Hauora Hokianga service spokesperson Hone Taimona shared that the traditional practice of Rongoā Māori recognises the reciprocal relationship between people and our environment.
“The land can keep us well, but we have a responsibility to keep the land well,” said Hone
“When we heal the whenua, we heal the people”.
The utilisation of the land around the hospital as an Ara Rongoā will provide a natural and holistic environment that facilitates healing, learning, understanding and connection.
“The Ara Rongoā will envelop the full hospital site as a literal pathway and as a wellbeing pathway. We have just planted more native trees and have the beginning of a Māra kai - food garden. We will be planting fruit trees and establishing gardens with plants we can use in our wellbeing plans,” said Jessie McVeagh, Manutaki or project manager of the Ara Rongoā Hikoi Whakaora.
Volunteer Kairongoā practitioners established the Taumata Rongoā service in 2020. It recently became part of Hauora Hokianga health service after receiving funding and support from the Northland DHB Rongoā Māori pilot programme initiated following the call from whānau for greater access to Rongoā services.
Having the Taumata Rongoā service within Hauora Hokianga enables treatment choice for patients, with conventional medicines now offered alongside traditional healing practices.
“We want to enable Rongoā in all its forms, and that means we’re considering more than just physical health. We want to beautify our spaces, so they become places of connection, healing, peace and refuge,” said Hone.
“The Ara Rongoā Hikoi Whakaora can support all people regardless of where they are in their health journey. From new life through to the end of life, access to Rongoā is available throughout the whole spectrum of human experience,” Hone explained.
Hauora Hokianga partnered with local Rongoā practitioner Amy Bristow and Ringa Atawhai Matauranga training establishment to support the service provision. Ringa Atawhai Matauranga runs wananga Rongoā Level 3 and 4 certificate programmes where more than 25 hospital staff and 70 local community members are learning the art of traditional healing practices.
These partnerships educate the community and staff on the benefits of Rongoā while increasing the number of qualified practitioners, making the service sustainable.
Hauora Hokianga is keen to see the community actively engaged in reclaiming their spaces of health.
“We would love to see our whānau coming in to utilise the gardens, to enjoy the kai grown in the mara, to use the fruit from the trees, and to contribute to its growth by giving of your time to plant and harvest kai, or by bringing cutting of plants or seedlings from home,” said Jessie.
“There are many ways you can contribute to the health and wellbeing of your community. Small contributions can make a big difference.”
If you would like to contribute to the Ara Rongoā Hikoi Whakaora in Hauora Hokianga, please get in touch with Jessie McVeagh.
For further information, please contact:
Liz Inch, Communications Manager - Phone 09 4304101 extn 60518
Photo 1 – Last year’s Puanga and Matariki planting
Flourishing Kumarahou, Koromiko, Korari, Rengarenga and Akeake from last year’s Puanga and Matariki celebrations. Photo – left to right - Hone Taimona, Evan Vince, Jessie McVeagh, Viv Beazley from the Northland DHB, Aho Rangi o Hauora Hokianga CEO Margareth Broodkoorn, Rhiaan Smith and April Hauraki.
Photo 2 – Perfect time to plant
Puanga and Matariki 2021 was the perfect time to plant more Kawakawa and Matipo. Hauora Hokianga practitioners from left Rhiaan Smith, Jessie McVeagh, Hone Taimona, Evan and Shirley Vince, Lyza Duffy and Viv Beazley from the Northland DHB.