Rongoa is traditional Maori medicine. It includes herbal medicine made from plants, physical techniques like massage, and spiritual healing.
Maori believed that some illnesses - called mate atua - were caused by evil spirits. If a person broke tapu (a rule), they could get sick. A tohunga (priest) could fix this kind of illness. He would find out what had caused it, remove the spirit and heal the patient.
Medicines were made from plants, including: harakeke (flax), kawakawa, rata ,manuka, kowhai.
There are various remedies like creams and balms, using the principles of the tohunga, and using a form of reiki or hands on healing energy.
Sun-young Baek / Assistant Manager
Rongoa Maori is the traditional medicine of New Zealand. It includes herbal medicine made from plants (rakau rongoa) physical techniques like massage (mirimiri), spiritual healing (wairua), water healing (wai rongoa) and food healing (kai rongoa).
Maori believed that some illnesses called mate - atua were caused by evil spirits. If a person broke tapu (laws) they could get sick. A tohunga (priest) could remedy this kind of illness. He would find what had caused it, remove the spirit and heal the patient.
Today various spiritual forms of healing energy such as prayer (karakia) and hands on healing energy (reiki) are used.
Plant medicines derived from experimentation and observation over 1000 years were made from 500+ species which included harakeke (flax), totara, manuka, kumarahou, mamuku, kawakawa, rata, kowhai, seaweeds, mussels etc Medicines were also made from marine, aquatic and terrestrial flora and fauna, and minerals.
Today various remedies, using the principles and knowledge of the tohunga are made into creams, balms, capsules, gels, chopped leaf, powders, tea, tinctures, oils, condiments and foods.
Edited with additions: Fred Allen 15th August 2013