by Helen Martin
Three workshops aimed at breaking down barriers between Mâori and Western health systems, initiated by Dr Tomos Longworth from Kaipara Medical Centre, were a huge success, thanks to the collaborative efforts of many people and community organisations.
The events were designed to encourage the community to access primary health care services in a timely manner, to introduce whanau and the wider community to mainstream health providers in the area sympathetic to the continued use of traditional Maori healing practices and to reconnect whanau to those practices. Held on three Tuesday evenings in July and August in the Helensville War Memorial Hall, the well-attended workshops included enlightening panel discussions with local registered health experts, question and answer sessions and Rongoa Mâori (Mâori medicine) presentations.
The workshops were held in a spirit of positivity and fun. Sessions began with the gift of a goody bag to each person attending and a stirring welcome from Kaipara College Kapa Haka Ngâ Taniwha o Kaipara. There was great interest taken in the kaupapa and attendees were impressed by the quality of the presentations. Added to that was some excellent kai, comprehensive Library displays, an all-in line-dance led by Levia Aukimo-uruamo’s local group and even some pelvic floor exercises, performed with much hilarity, the concept of which was a revelation to many present.
Valuable input was provided by Mâori Health Services, Te Ha Oranga, Helensville Pharmacy, Ngâ Taniwha o Kaipara, Te Runanga o Ngâti Whatua, Ora New Zealand, Physio Flex and Kaipara College. Respected Rongoa Mâori practitioner Donna Kerridge and Dr Longworth provided strong guidance throughout, focusing on the idea that the old can work alongside the new in ways that are complementary and productive, while Helensville Library, led by Sally and Anne, did a brilliant job co-ordinating the whole event and undertaking many of the hands-on jobs.
Koha collected over the three weeks resulted in a donation of $1,050 to Kaipara College Kapa Haka Ngâ Taniwha o Kaipara.
by Helen Martin