Spiritual care

Karakia definition

Spiritual care covers and protects everything to do with living and dying. It is particularly important for kaumātua as they prepare to cross the ārai (veil between this world and the next). Spiritual care is also supportive of whānau manaaki (family caregivers) who experience emotional, physical and spiritual vulnerability related to the weight of caregiving and grief. Spiritual care is present during the early stages of an illness as well as later on, when someone is in need of palliative care (when the illness is advanced) and at time of death and afterwards. Caring for the spirit of people is holistic and takes into account the physical, emotional, mental, social and environmental dimensions.

Kaumātua Tom gave a definition of karakia as he understands it:

Well I would look at karakia, ‘ka’ is the light. And ‘ri’ for me is insight. And ‘ki’ is again inclusive so a karakia for me is a path of enlightenment that you must travel.

Kuia K. spoke about Māori tūpuna (ancestors) having different karakia for different purposes. She talked about karakia for healing, and karakia in the morning for safety and at night to thank the Lord for coming home safely:

… they’ve karakia for different purposes. Yeah, there was. For healing, it has its own karakia. You have a karakia in the morning for safety for the whānau wherever they go. At the night you thank the Lord for bringing you all home safely. That’s the purpose of the karakia so our parents told us... we all would race up for karakia. Our parents always told us, ‘You never know what you’re going to be involved with when you leave the house in the morning. Nō reira, karakia ki te Atua. Kia tūpato ki te manaaki i a koe. Tō wairua me tō tinana, ka puta atu koe ki waho. Ka hoki mai koe i te ahiahi, whakameomiti ki tō Atua. Ka hokimai koe te kainga, oranga tō tinana, oranga tō wairua.’ So, we grew up with that.

Reflecting on the value of ‘aroha’, Cess’ story A soldiers farewell’ provides a good example of how whānau take care of their kaumātua at the end of life.

‘A soldier’s farewell’ by Cecily Miller-Heperi 

Click here to read transcript if preferred

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