Thumbnail Image

Mā mahi, ka ora: by work, we prosper--traditional healers and workforce development.

AIM: Rongoā Māori practitioners make a valuable contribution towards Māori health outcomes, albeit with limited resourcing or formal training. This paper reports on a survey of healers/healing practices-specifically healers' aspirations for professional development and training-and considers the implications for healing practice and future training undertakings. METHODS: Healers in seven districts around the country were surveyed about rongoā practice and service delivery during 2013. Consenting healers completed surveys either in person, via phone, or returned them via post, according to their preference and convenience. Resulting data were analysed and reported according to frequency of responses. RESULTS: Thirty-eight healers/rongoā clinics completed the survey--a 79% response rate. Respondents were primarily Māori (88%), female (69%), aged 50 years or older (60%), and worked as volunteers. Informal training modes focused on te reo, mātauranga and tikanga were the most common means of skill/ knowledge acquisition, and preferred modes for further training. CONCLUSIONS: The survey highlights the pressing need for expansion of the rongoā Māori workforce and training/service funding, to sustain rongoā practice. The findings add to what little is known about the training pathways and aspirations of practising healers, identified targets of the Māori Health Workforce Development Plan 2006.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Ahuriri-Driscoll, A., Boulton, A., Stewart, A., Potaka-Osborne, G., & Hudson, M. (2015). Mā mahi, ka ora: by work, we prosper--traditional healers and workforce development. New Zealand Medical Journal, 128(1420), 34–44.
This article is published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. © NZMA. Used with permission.