May 14, 2017

Supporting Traditional Rongoā Practice in Contemporary Health Care Settings

Supporting Traditional Rongoā Practice in Contemporary Health Care Settings

In this three-year project, we sought to identify the health service arrangements that best support traditional rongoā Māori practice in a contemporary setting. Using a Māori-centred approach, and a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, the research aimed to identify the features of health service arrangements that are both consistent with principles of rongoā practice and that ensure cultural integrity. The project represented a collaboration between researchers from Whakauae and two different universities (Canterbury and Waikato) as well as the involvement of the Chair of Te Kāhui Rongoā as a researcher on the project. Te Kāhui Rongoā, the national body for rongoā Māori practitioners, played an active role in the project. As well as acting in an advisory capacity for the project team, Te Kāhui Rongoā assisted the research team to make sense of the findings before they were released to the wider sector.

Outcomes / Achievements

The results of our research have shown a number of significant issues must be addressed by the rongoā sector to ensure rongoā Māori continues as a vital part of Te Ao Māori. Key amongst these issues include how to ensure the sustainability of an ageing workforce; that this workforce is receiving the training it requires; and that the sector has access to the raw materials and mātauranga it requires to be effective. To date, the research team has produced two peer-reviewed journal articles on these and other issues, and further articles are being prepared for publication. We have also been able to share our findings with the sector through peer reviewed conference papers; six separate oral conference papers and presentations to local communities. Local presentations have culminated in a keynote address on the importance of the rongoā sector driving its own research agenda at the National Rongoā Symposium and Expo, held in Whanganui in October 2015.

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