Rongoā Māori at home with Hospice

Donna is living with a life-limiting illness. She recently gifted us with her time to share about the profound difference that Hospice West Auckland and her Rongoā Practitioner, Emma Haslam have made on her journey so far.

Rongoā Māori is the traditional healing system of Māori. It encompasses herbal remedies, physical therapies and spiritual healing. For Donna, “Rongoa is to listen. To listen to those things that are troubling us, the answers of the Rongoā will come through and help how we heal through this discomfort… I come to find the greatest answers to the pain using rongoā and karakia”.

Donna has always been connected to Rongoā Māori through her Māori heritage “I remember my father teaching us when we were kids that when we get a bee sting which plant to go and look for so he can snap it off and rub it on the stings.” She feels that it is incredibly important to pass down the ‘seeds of knowledge’ to the next generation.

She recalls a special moment when Emma our Rongoā Māori Practitioner came to visit her at home to give her a mirimiri massage. After her massage, Donna explained to Emma that she had developed a rash and Emma suggested that the harakeke (flax plant) could be used to soothe it. Looking out the window, Emma spotted a harakeke bush and suggested that her daughter come with her to learn how to extract the gel for the rash. Donna felt that she had the energy to join them for the walk and got out of bed, and with the use of her walking aids, joined them on their walk to the harakeke.




Emma showed Donna and her daughter how she could extract the gel and apply it to the rash. Donna recalls how significant and special this experience was to her and her daughter “My baby really appreciated that day, she told her sisters about it.

She went on to tell the story of the harakeke”. As her daughter is Donna’s primary carer, Donna shared with us how important it was to her to have Emma pass down her knowledge and the gifts of Rongoā to her daughter.

While being in Hospice care, Donna says that she has grown in strength and independence. Her carers used to have to do everything for her, but now she is able to cook with her husband, spend more quality time with her kids and have more energy to do the things she loves.

Donna is so grateful to be receiving Rongoā Māori through the community home care provided by Hospice West Auckland and hopes that the knowledge of continues to be passed down for generations to come.



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