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A path to lotions and potions: Ngāti te Maunga ahi kā use of rongoā for hapū wellbeing

The research aimed to determine the challenges and improvements required during the implementation of the rongoā programme. The rongoā programme was based on a papakāinga near a marae, in a semi-rural location with difficult access. Participatory action research and autoethnography methods were used with the ahi kā (local residence) to develop a programme that would fulfil the hapū ora (extended family wellbeing) goals. The goals of the programme were: for the ahi kā to use rongoā (modalities of health) confidently for their wellbeing; consistently use a Facebook page to learn and share information and to develop a database of the local rongoā rākau (medicinal plant). The ahi kā identified a further question to ask Facebook members to understand what motivated their participation and a survey was conducted. The ahi kā also wanted to understand the local doctor’s view on rongoā and its context on health provision in their area. An interview was conducted and the survey and interview added to the understanding of what the ahi kā could do to improve theirs and the hapū whānau (group extended family) wellbeing. The findings of the research highlighted the complexities that arise from conducting research in a bicultural space where a common understanding of cultural knowledge is assumed to be homogenous. A shared history with colonisation and religious beliefs brought to the forefront the multiplicity Māori work through to determine a shared hapū identity. Based on an understanding of Māori principle values and tikanga (ways of enacting values), as understood by ahi kā, transformed a programme of learning how to make lotions and potions for the ahi kā, into influencing hapū members to change their attitudes and behaviours to their environment and their wellbeing. This research highlighted the role that ahi kā hold as keepers of cultural knowledge that is rooted in the papakāinga through ancestral links that informs the identity of a hapū. Learning how to use rongoā provided ahi kā a platform to learn a new skill while helping the hapū heal through connecting with the identity and land of the hapū they belong to.
Type of thesis
Diamond, K. (2019). A path to lotions and potions: Ngāti te Maunga ahi kā use of rongoā for hapū wellbeing (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13398
The University of Waikato
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