Spiritual care

The power of karakia

"Karakia was identified in the Pae Herenga study as the most powerful method of communicating with Atua and the spiritual realm. "

Karakia are used for everything - to bring comfort to kaumātua and their whānau, to petition the spiritual realm for support, guidance, and to lift fear and anxiety, to bring strength and clarity, and to assist with certain events that occur on the end of life journey. For example, karakia can be used to strengthen kaumātua and whānau on rising and on going to bed; they are also employed to give thanks. Karakia can be used to fortify whānau and kaumātua before visiting a health provider or having an assessment or procedure done.

Karakia can assist with protecting kaumātua and whānau when there is uncertainty or clarification is being sought. They can be used to lift mamae (emotional pain) and to ease physical suffering. Karakia are helpful to set the path straight at the start and close of hui (gatherings) where important discussions take place and decisions are made. They also provide spiritual covering (protection) when someone is dying, and afterwards, when whānau manaaki have the responsibility to petition spiritual support from Atua to ensure the wairua (spirit) of the deceased transitions safely through the veil and beyond, and their tūpāpaku (deceased’s body) is taken care of.

Reflecting on the value of ‘Wairuatanga’, Arena and Hana’s pūrākau, ‘Hāpai te oranga’ describes how Arena provides spiritual care to people at the end of their life to make them ‘comfortable.’

‘Hāpai te oranga’ by Arena and Hana Munro

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