Traditional Maori legends and rituals come from a Polynesian homeland. It is believed that everything has a spiritual essence – land, nature, and humans. This essence is called Mana. New Zealand practitioners of rongoa Maori, known as tohunga or healers, are offering their knowledge to the world.
I spent time travelling and volunteering throughout New Zealand in 2011, learning about Maori culture, healing and the creative arts. There is a strong sense of respect for nature and wildlife in this part of the world. The local people I stayed with were resourceful and humble. New Zealand is an immensely beautiful place to explore and experience reconnection with the earth.
The medicinal powers of the bush were well known to Maori healers. When Europeans arrived in the 19th Century, new diseases came to New Zealand, which Maori healers were initially unable to treat. Maori medicinal healing was outlawed in 1907. A century later, it’s now becoming a part of the mainstream.
We are slowly realising that modern life is making people sick. We are overworked and disconnected. Television, mobile phones and social media are taking us away from each other. We are connecting through technological devices but our emotional, physical and spiritual bodies don’t experience the beneficial effect of communicating face-to-face. We need real people in real time. Humans are craving this connection. We are more lonely than ever.
This resurgence in traditional healing is humanities way of reaching for the old way, the natural way. Maori healers from New Zealand, shamans from South America, aboriginal people across the world – their knowledge of healing using plants, nature and energy is in demand. People are craving simplifying their lives. The growing popularity of The Minimalists, shows this. Our lives are busy, cluttered, full. We need space, we need nature, we need reconnection. Indigenous healers can guide and assist us.
Maori healers use knowledge past down from their elders, whilst connecting spiritually and physically to the natural world. They practice being guided by the wairua (spirit). Maori healers believe that connecting to your wairua gives life abundance, more than any amount of money or job will.
Rongoa Maori is about holding a space for people to heal themselves. Like Reiki, the body can self-heal with the right guidance and assistance. Rongoa Maori is a combination of plant medicine, tikanga (customary practices), kaitiakitanga (guardianship), intention and unconditional love. It is the understanding of one’s inherent connection to nature. Humanity is craving this reconnection to the natural world.