Spiritual care

Kete Tuauri

"Kete Tuauri contains information about the spiritual tikanga (customs) and kawa (ceremonies) that whānau manaaki draw from to provide end of life care. "

Tāne’s journey to obtain Kete Tuauri (basket of knowledge) was important because it contained sacred knowledge of creation, the natural world and patterns of energy that operate behind the world of our sense perceptions; this belongs to the spiritual realm of tohunga (spiritual practitioners/experts).  Kete Tuauri contains information about the spiritual tikanga (customs) and kawa (ceremonies) that whānau manaaki draw from to provide end of life care.

In the Māori creation pūrākau (story) Hine-Tītama (first natural born woman) transformed herself into Hine-Nui-Te-Pō (often translated as the ‘Maiden of the night’ or the ‘Goddess of death’). Hine-Tītama left Earth to live in Te Pō (which some call Rarohenga), the realm beyond this time and space. She is the eternal loving mother who resides in the underworld (some refer to this place as the ‘heavenly realm’ or the ‘underworld’). Hine-Nui-Te-Pō waits to receive her children’s wairua (spirit) when they leave their bodies, and earthly home, leaving their father Tāne to remain on Earth to care for and protect the living.

Each whānau manaaki (families who provide end of life care to adults and kaumātua) have their own Kete Tuauri woven with their own cultural and spiritual values that they choose to guide and support everything they do. Spiritual care runs across and through every aspect of living and dying; it includes the care of the person’s wairua (spirit) and body before, during and following death and it includes care of the whānau pani (bereaved family). We include some pūrākau from the Pae Herenga study to highlight spiritual aspects of care.

Matua Tau (spiritual healer) offered his definition of wairua (spirit) and spirituality:


Oh, well wairua to me, well in my understanding, wairua was the second thing that was created. So, you had Te Kore, you maybe had Io Matua Kore, I don’t know which one came first, and then you had te hiringa, so you had the energy, then you had wairua. And then within the wairua, for [my Waikato whānau] kōrero, was “Hani” and “Puna”, which was the male/female element within the wairua. And so that went through all the, the portals down to Ranginui, which is the male element, and Papatūānuku. So that was Papatūānuku[s] whakapapa back to the wairua. So those wairua went on to the tamariki of Tāne and them, yeah, in all [of] them. Then it came, yeah, it came down. So, the wairua came from up there, down. Yeah.

And so that’s the inherent thing that we’re born with that also connects us back to the beginning of time, to the Creator. So, it’s an energy, it’s a life. I don’t want to get it mixed up with mauri. It’s an energy that you know when it’s operating well - you’re light, you’re flourishing, you’re light. When your wairua isn’t right, you are dark, you know, your kōrero is angry, yeah. And, you know when you’re in a room and a lovely person walks in you don’t know, you may have your back to the door, but you can feel them. Then you know, when a horrible person walks in the door you can feel the [vibes]. So, it’s the unseen. Yeah, it’s not tangible, you can’t grasp it like to hold, but, but it’s there. You can feel it, yeah. You can feel it in your… waiata (singing), and karanga (calling). Because some of the old waiata are pitched at a certain level, you know? That invokes it, connects to the wairua, the karanga, connects to the wairua.

GP A. explained that spirituality was about connections and there is a deeper spiritual meaning to this:

Yeah. I think being connected in this realm allows for deeper connection in other realms. Therefore, if you can get deeper connections in other realms and you’re going towards Io through these 12 heavens or different atua (gods), then you can only think that the healing will be stronger in the physical world…The healing is coming through those connections of that one doctor. It’s not because [s]he’s a great surgeon maybe. It’s not, I don’t always believe it’s because you’re a great surgeon. I believe it’s actually because your connection on the physical world has allowed for the greater connection in the spiritual world to do the healing. So that’s really important. So, if you disconnect all the physical realms, then you’re not going to be able to get to Io.

© Copyright 2024 Te Ipu Aronui

Website crafted by bocapa. Design by Sasha Maya