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Spiritual care

Spiritual safety and protection

Caring for the spirit includes the safety and protection of kaumātua and whānau manaaki. This is most important, particularly when someone is at the end of their life. This is a tapu (sacred, profound) time, particularly as the older person approaches death, or is dying, and when their whānau are feeling vulnerable and are grieving. End of life is about caring for every aspect of the person and knowing how to read what’s happening for them. Being sensitive to a kaumatua’s mauri (life force, vital essence) for example, can help guide whānau manaaki in their caregiving activities.

Matua Ned and Whaea Rihi share their understanding of mauri [life force, vital essence] and wairua [spirit] and how this relates to the māuiui person at end of life. They share how they describe ‘mauri’ to the non-Māori staff:

Ned: So, when people are sick it’s because the mauri is waning and you see that, you see the effects of it, eh. Because they haven’t- the mauri’s weak, or the wairua is weak; so, it’s about [the] two. They, they have their own specific areas for us as Māori, but they’re not far apart… the words I use… for mauri, a Pākehā word is ‘mojo’… lot of people understand ‘mojo’.

Rihi: And I say ‘your tinana’s [body’s] got a life force because somebody made it… or the feeling when you come into a room. Like you get a feeling, like that mauri you [feel you] think ‘hmm, it’s not quite right in here,’ or you come into a room and you think ‘oh’.

Ned: Bad mojo.

Rihi: It’s got a bad mojo, or you come into a room and you think ‘oh yeah this is cool, this has got a nice feeling.’ So that too explains, I suppose, in a Pākehā sense mauri.

Ned: They get that.

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