The future of rongoa Maori: wellbeing and sustainability. A summary
Aound 80% of the developing world’s rural population depends on traditional medicines for its primary healthcare needs (World Health Organization (WHO) 2003). Since the late 1970s, the WHO has promoted traditional medicines internationally. Now the popularity of traditional medicines is increasing, and their use is spreading among urban populations in many industrialised countries. The growth in interest in, and utilisation of, traditional medicine and healing practices has led to varying degrees of integration with the dominant westernised approach to medicine. However, scepticism remains among indigenous peoples about whether successful integration and acceptance within modern health systems is possible. In New Zealand, traditional healing has a long history of usage and credibility among Maori. Recently, a research project was completed that looked into the current status of traditional Maori healing and its contribution to wellbeing, and the integration of rongoa Maori with mainstream healthcare to sustain the practice. A Maori research/inquiry paradigm guided the research. The project was informed by a national literature review, and focus groups and workshops with traditional healers and rongoa Maori stakeholders. This work provided direction about the research required to support the integration of rongoa Maori with mainstream healthcare. This report summarises the findings of the research project and is based on the report ‘The future of rongoa Maori: wellbeing and sustainability’, prepared for Te Kete Hauora (Ministry of Health) by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) Ltd. and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, in partnership with Nga Ringa Whakahaere o te Iwi Maori.