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Dr. Amohia Boulton stated that Rongoā is an integral part of te ao Māori. Photo / Provided

An upcoming symposium aims to address the critical role that Rongoā Māori could play in Aotearoa’s health and disability sector.

The one-day online symposium on June 29 will feature six lectures by leading Māori health experts and Q&A panels with the speakers.

Whakauae Research Services in Whanganui will host the symposium alongside the Department of Health, ACC, Interim Maori Health Authority and Rongoā communities.

The symposium explores two themes: “Miria te Rongo – stimulating the senses to reach potential” in the morning and “Ngā Tai o Pari Ata – rising tides” in the afternoon.

Whakauae Research Center Director Amohia Boulton said their most recent research project regarding Rongoā Māori – Te Ao Rauropi: Mapping the Biosphere of Rongoā Māori – will be presented by Donna Kerridge.

She said the project explored the full range of benefits that Rongoā Māori could bring to all New Zealanders and the environment.

“Rongoā’s philosophy is based on living in harmony with nature and provides an indispensable guide to protecting and preserving our whenua in times of global environmental degradation,” said Boulton.

Boulton said Whakauae Research is proud to help improve health outcomes for whānau. The organization recently received major funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) for its work to support health equity for Maori.

“Rongoā is a taonga tuku iho, a valuable and integral part of te ao Māori,” said Boulton.

“We call on the mana and mauri of Rongoā to take back its rightful place in the way Aotearoa cares for its people and explore the potential of two worlds working together to forge a better future.”

The Acting Maori Health Authority will also play a prominent role at the symposium, with Chief Executive Riana Manuel delivering the keynote address.

“I truly believe that our esoteric knowledge contained in Rongoā will provide the ara towards the welfare of our people,” she said.

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