I think there are some doubts around some of the chemotherapy and interactions with rongoā. I don’t have enough knowledge around that, but I think what people forget is that rongoā Māori is based on a spiritual side first and foremost. You can’t go to the ngāhere, the bush and get the children of Tāne without doing a karakia first, and without tikanga all the way through and taking it back.
So, I think it can be complementary, but I also think there are fears that it is different. And there are fears for those that utilise it and who are maybe not doing it in the right ways. So, there’s a little bit of that in the background. But if we were to take that away, then absolutely it’s the wairua of the plants, of Tāne, that is the healer. So, yes that has medicinal properties, but first and foremost it is the wairua. So it is around understanding that- is you know, like before we focus too much into the interactions of everything else, you know, that someone thought about that kuia, went out to the bush, dedicate that time, did exactly the tikanga and thought about that person in their mind to bring that back…that’s where all the healing is from. It’s not around getting a panipani of kawakawa and giving that to them, it’s the whole journey that is the healing, right.
And so, it can align with Western medicine, but there are fears around that of course. The spiritual side Te Oomai-reia. So, I generally talk about rongoā rākau in Te Oomai Reia. Rākau being Tāne’s stuff where we’ve got kawakawa’s all those things, and then we’ve got the Te Oomai Reia which is the spiritual realms, which go through different phases…all the different ways. And so through that, you know, with kōmiri, tamiri, mirimiri, there are different ways you can interlink with those wairua and, shift the entities, or shift the pain, or change the pain, dampen it down, or, you know. Because we do believe that some of this, the pain that we have, the diseases we attribute, the illnesses, are from the wairua eh, and the psychological parts that contribute to that.
So, if we can work with that, we can help in some ways, and to the point that it may not be, you know, at end-of-life. So, part of that is believing though. And I always say when I’ve done rongoā, in the space where it’s just doing rongoā, and, that it’s no use someone walking to my door if they don’t believe in it. Because the belief is part of that healing. You know, being able to believe that lifts their wairua to different a part so that you can work with that wairua; doesn’t mean that you can’t help them, but there’s only going to be so much you can do. So that knowing that, you know, that they believe in it in some way, or that it’s aligned with some of their thoughts, doesn’t have to be, because over time that can change, absolutely. But at some point, that’s really important.