Exploring Rongoā Plants with Hospice

At Hospice West Auckland, we strive to provide palliative care that seeks to care for the whole person, their taha tinana (physical health), their taha wairua (spiritual health), a taha hinengaro (mental health) and their taha whānau (family health).

Our Rongoā Māori (traditional Māori medicine) practitioner is available for all patients and their whānau, Māori or non-Māori. Hospice West Auckland delivers Rongoā through mirimiri (traditional massage), karakia (pastoral support) and whitiwhiti kōrero (cultural support).

Rongoā supports both our tūroro (patients) and their whānau. Reconnecting to their whakapapa (ancestors), Papatuanuku (Earth Mother), and Māoritanga (culture, traditions) at the end of life can provide an enormous sense of peace to those who are facing a terminal diagnosis.

Here are 12 Rongoā Māori plants explained regarding their use in palliative care:

Koromiko
Veronica stricta
A gentle, soft and magical rongoā. Koromiko is used as a wash for nappy rash and can assist in the treatment of diarrhea or constipation.

Māmaku
Cyathea medullaris
A graceful, soothing and healing rongoā. In the same way that Māmaku heals the hilly contours of Papatūānuku when she has been ravaged by land slips and slides, Māmaku is used to soothe the pipes of the body post-trauma.

Kanono
Coprosma grandifolia
A wonderful skin healer and valuable to weavers as dye for kete/baskets and korowai/cloaks.

Harakeke
Phormium tenax
Representative of whānau. Harakeke teaches us to harvest in a manner that does not harm the family line. Harakeke gel is used to soothe burns.

Kohekohe
Dysoxylum spectabile
A special rongoā for wāhine. Kohekohe has been miraculous in assisting ‘womenly’ issues.

Mānuka
Leptospermum scoparium
Likened on occasion to the runt of the pack with lots of guts and stamina, Mānuka is packed with antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Kānuka
Kunzea ericoides
Beautiful Kānuka with her heavenly scent and uplifting qualities. Used often to clear the airways.

Makomako
Aristotelia serrata
Wine Berry

A gentle and palatable rongoā. Makomako soothes and softens the skin.

Houhere
Hoheria populnea, h.sextylosa
Highly regarded by traditional healers and skilled weavers alike, Houhere has many gifts to offer. Amongst those gifts are her ability to refresh the eyes and soothe the belly.

Kawakawa
Macropiper excelsum
Kawakawa’s heart-shaped leaves provide insight into the gifts that lay within her essence for healing. Leaves with holes are best for harvesting.

Tanekaha
Phyllocladus trichaminoides
Tanekaha literally translates to ‘strong man’ and is reflective of its status as one of the forest’s strongest timbers. As a healer, Tanekaha is an outstanding rongoā for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.

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