Over the 20 years that these workshops have been running the biggest challenge to keeping alive the knowledge, traditions, and practice of rongoa Maori (traditional Maori medicine) is that today most people don’t live close to the ngahere (bush); they live in cities and towns. They haven’t had the chance to learn rongoa in the world in which it developed and belongs. That can make learning about rongoa a struggle.
This series of workshops have been developed to address that challenge. All workshops are run over a weekend and are held in the ngahere (bush). The aim is to teach people:
· how to identify the plants used for rongoa,
· where to find them, and how to collect them,
· the tikanga (customs) that must be followed.
There is a lot to learn. This is a step by step journey over a series of workshops to give participants a good foundation to learn rongoa Maori in a way that upholds and treasures the matauranga (traditional knowledge) of rongoa that has passed down over many centuries.
Each series is run twice a year - in the autumn and in the spring. You don't need to do all workshops at the same time, but it's recommended that you do them in order, as each will build on the knowledge learned in the previous one.
The workshops are not intended to be strenuous, and do not involve long bush walks, so are suitable for any age and fitness level.
A certificate of attendance can be provided upon request. These workshops however are not NZQA approved so can't be credited towards a qualification. They are purely intended for the sharing of knowledge.
Rob McGowan (known to many as Pa Ropata) is our lead tutor and has been a long-time member of the Bay of Plenty Conservation Board, has been employed by the University of Waikato as Continuing Education Officer, and employed by Nga Whenua Rahui. Rob's foundation knowledge of rongoa comes from kaumatua on the Whanganui river. Rob has a keen interest in helping Maori land owners look after their ngahere and keep alive the matauranga that belongs there. He has also contributed to "Kiwi Maara" and other programmes on Maori television. Rob is the 2018 recipient of the Department of Conservation Loder Cup.
Donna Kerridge is the tutor for Rongoa 4 (Medicine Manufacture) and also assists Rob on other levels in the series. Donna is a registered herbalist and rongoa Maori practitioner. She has worked alongside Rob for many years. Donna is extremely approachable and caring, and a knowledgeable presenter.
Karen Tindall is the director of Titoki Education, and organises and administers the running of the workshops. She has worked for many years with Rob, both through the University of Waikato, and through Titoki Education. If you have any queries about the courses or enrolment, please feel free to make contact.