In July 1986,when the rangatira, John Rangihau, presented Puao-te-ata-tu to the Minister of Social Welfare at that time, Dame Ann Hercus, the report was prefacted with a whakataukī well known to all. The letter of commital from the Ministerial Advisory Committee on a Māori perspective for the Department of Social Welfare ended:
Tama Ora will also be driven by a focus on the RUIA goals. We want to cross-fertilise those goals with our own nga pou o RUIA:
This week we want to celebrate the inspirational healer that is Te Aomihia. Te Aomihia was brought up by those of an era whom utilised varying traditional Māori methods and practises of treatment to heal utilising native plant (rongoā rākau; water (wai); incantations (kaupare) and knowledge as ahi kaa (keepers of the home fires) and kaitiaki (guardians) of Te Taiao (the natural environment). More recently she graduated with the Massage Therapy and Wellness Diploma at Otago Polytechnic. She was also the recipient of the program’s Ambassador-award.
Traditional Māori healers (Tohunga) used MiriMiri as a means of healing injuries, releasing old tensions, and balancing bodily function. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has supported KOHA and Te Aomihia since 2016. Over the last five years we have seen her creating magic in shearing sheds and hauora days; with kaumātua and with young mums. She has established rongoa mirimiri clinics, and was so happy to move into the Puna (Wellspring space) in Dunedin where she utilised mirimiri, romiromi and contemporary massage.
On Thursday TeAomihia Rangihuna announced that with deep regret, KŌHĀ will cease all activity. In her words, “It is purely a personal decision, one that has been a long time coming and given currently worldly and national circumstances, I might consider timely”.
Recently we asked those whom Te Aomihia had worked with, what was the best thing about Kia Ora Hands Aotearoa (KOHA). The responses are provided below in their fullness. They give expression to the gratitude, the appreciation and the awe with which we all see Te Aomihia and her contribution to the healing journey.
The situations for whānau remain dire; distressing and increasingly desperate.
As of last night, we have received 9,116 applications from whānau since 18 August (when lockdown commenced) encompassing support for 38,308 whānau members. Of those, 72% approached us with ‘high urgency’.
“Needing Kai and data for myself and immediate whanau (wife, children, pets, elders) that live with me in our whanau home.”
“I’m a single mum of two and really struggling after we lost everything in a housefire.”
“I’m pregnant and have been diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum and unable to work. We are moving from a furnished studio with my partner and son into a house on Friday with no furniture at the moment so need to extra money we would spend on food to hopefully buy a bed.”
“I spent the last 5 years caring for my elderly parents. They both passed away within 6 months, my stepdad being the last in the 1st of this year. I miss them so much. I’m lost at 54 years of age. I start counselling this week. I desperately need the help.”
“My partner has been sick and is having to leave his job and he is not capable of caring for our children alone so isn’t possible for me to work until we can get help with his illness.”
“With Covid, we are down on food. I have had and still having strokes to the brain. I live with my partner who also is unwell. Medical needs and transport are costing a lot also winter and higher power costs.”
“My partner works full time and has to support us both… I can’t afford to pay for anything.”
“We have a new baby born on the 17th. Also two boys under four and two adults. The boys eat all day long. Our family needs a warmer bigger home. But a week without worrying about kai would be wonderful.”
“I am a single parent who needs to keep my house warm as one of my kids has breathing problems and being stuck at home with the colder weather lately have been using more power and food.”