Rongoā Māori: An Autoethnographic Account of My Experiences With the Wairua
Rongoā Māori is a tapu (sacred) medicine and healing practice used by Māori. It was prominently used until it was made illegal by the Tohunga Suppression Act of 1907. This resulted in the prosecution of anyone who practised rongoā, and while it was continued in secret, it was lost from many Māori communities. The resurgence of Māori culture in Aotearoa created changes in attitudes towards rongoā Māori and a growing understanding of the importance of Indigenous healing to support health disparities which formed out of colonisation and the Tohunga Suppression Act. This autoethnography explores my experiences with rongoā Māori to understand how my experiences helped my understanding of the connections between the physical body and wairua (spirit). This autoethnographic dissertation aims to explore the connections between the physical body and the wairua (spirit), to highlight the positive health outcomes I experienced from the practice, and help support the place of rongoā within Aotearoa’s health system.