Rongoa New Zealand

Information for students of Rongoa Maori

Archive for the ‘Websites’

Wai262 Report

Kia ora koutou

The Waitangi Tribunal has released their report into the Wai262 Claim recommending wide-ranging reforms to laws and policies affecting Māori culture and identity and calling for the Crown-Māori relationship to move beyond grievance to a new era based on partnership .

What is the Wai 262 claim?

Wai 262 is the 262nd claim registered with the Waitangi Tribunal.

The claim was lodged on 9 October 1991 by six claimants on behalf of themselves and their iwi: Haana Murray (Ngāti Kurī), Hema Nui a Tawhaki Witana (Te Rarawa), Te Witi McMath (Ngāti Wai), Tama Poata (Ngāti Porou), Kataraina Rimene (Ngāti Kahungunu), and John Hippolite (Ngāti Koata).

What is the claim about?

The claim is about the place of Māori culture, identity and traditional knowledge in New Zealand’s laws, and in government policies and practices. It concerns who controls Māori traditional knowledge, who controls artistic and cultural works such as haka and waiata, and who controls the environment that created Māori culture.

It also concerns the place in contemporary New Zealand life of core Māori cultural values such as the obligation of iwi and hapū to act as kaitiaki (cultural guardians) towards taonga (treasured things) such as traditional knowledge, artistic and cultural works, important places, and flora and fauna that are significant to iwi or hapū identity.

How significant is this inquiry?

The Wai 262 inquiry is one of the most complex and far-reaching in the Tribunal’s history. It is the Tribunal’s first whole-of-government inquiry.

It is also the first Tribunal inquiry to specifically address the Treaty relationship beyond the settlement of historical grievances.

What does the Treaty say about Māori culture and identity?

The Treaty established a partnership between Māori and the Crown. Through this partnership, the Crown won the right to govern and enact laws, but that right was qualified by the guarantee of ‘tino rangatiratanga’ (full authority) for iwi and hapū over their ‘taonga katoa’ (all their treasured things).

This requires the Crown, as far as practicable, to ensure that iwi and hapū have authority over taonga such as those referred to above, which are core aspects of Māori culture and identity.

The Tribunal recognises that in a modern New Zealand context full authority will not always be possible, and that the interests of iwi and hapū will instead have to balanced alongside the interests of other New Zealanders.

Is the Wai 262 inquiry about historical claims?No. Though the claimants raised historical issues, the Tribunal felt that in general they were better considered in district inquiries. The Wai 262 inquiry has therefore focused largely on contemporary relationships between the Crown and Māori.

That does not mean history has been ignored. Many contemporary issues arise from historical actions such as the loss of tribal land and Crown suppression of the Māori language and culture through the education system and laws such as the Tohunga Suppression Act. But in general the focus of the Tribunal’s findings and recommendations is on the contemporary relationship between the Crown and Māori, not on past grievances.

What has the Tribunal recommended?

The Tribunal’s recommendations 


 the establishment of new partnership bodies in education, conservation, and culture and heritage; a new commission to protect Māri cultural works against derogatory or offensive uses and unauthorised commercial uses; a new funding agent for māauranga Māri in science; and expanded roles for some existing bodies including Te Taura Whiri (the Māri Language Commission), the newly established national rongoābody Te Paepae Matua mōte Rongoā and Māri advisory bodies relating to patents and environmental protection.

 improved support for rongoāMāri (Māri traditional healing), te reo Māri, and other aspects of Māri culture and Māri traditional knowledge

 amendments to laws covering Māri language, resource management, wildlife, conservation, cultural artifacts, environmental protection, patents and plant varieties, and more.

Who is the Tribunal?

The Waitangi Tribunal is a permanent commission of inquiry. It was established to consider and make recommendations on claims brought by Māri about Crown acts or omissions that breach the promises made in the Treaty. The Tribunal was established in 1975 by the Treaty of Waitangi Act.

The Wai 262 panel comprised Justice Joe Williams (presiding officer), Keita Walker, Pamela Ringwood and Roger Maaka.

Why has the report taken so long to complete?

There are many reasons. Initially, priority was given to district hearings in order to support the process of settling historical Treaty grievances, so the Tribunal did not begin hearing the claim until some years after it was lodged. Subsequently, arguments between the Crown and claimants about the scope of the claim, the ill health of the first presiding officer, the extraordinary breadth and complexity of the claim, the need to keep up with an ever-changing law and policy environment, and competing priorities have all contributed to the time the inquiry has taken.

To read a full copy of the report the following is a link to the Waitangi Tribunal website

Ngā Tipu Whakaoranga – Māori Plant Use Database

Kia ora koutou

I thought I would share with you some of the amazing work and resources available to us through Landcare Research.  Among other great resources their Nga Tipu Whakoranga, Maori plant use database is a very useful tool.  Check it out sometime when you discover a plant in your area and wonder how Maori may have used it in earlier times.  

About Ngā Tipu Whakaoranga – Māori Plant Use Database

What information is in Ngā Tipu Whakaoranga?

The database contains fully referenced, detailed information on how Māori used plants to survive in New Zealand, particularly before the arrival of Europeans. Material relating to later economic uses of native plants is recorded too, though generally not on timber uses and the kauri gum trade.

Fungi and seaweeds are included, and there are references to some Pacific plants, such as Pandanus, that have links to Māori culture.

Also included are pertinent references on traditional resource rights and intellectual property claims relating to plant uses by indigenous peoples.

  Here is an example from the database on Horopito;

Pseudowintera colorata - horopito

Pseudowintera axillaris.  Horopito. Main reference.

FAMILY: Winteraceae. Closely related to the magnolia family

BOTANICAL NAME: Pseudowintera axillaris

PREVIOUS NAMES: Drimys axillaris; Wintera axillaris

MĀORI NAME: HOROPITO, puhikawa (Williams 1971)
Fruit: matou (so-called by Arawa; Best 1908. Also Williams 1971)

COMMON NAME: pepper tree

NOTES: The name ‘horopito’ refers to both P.axillaris and the closely related P. colorata. The medicinal notes probably refer to both species. Horopito is perhaps more commonly used these days for P. colorata – which has blotchy coloured leaves, and is more peppery. Both species hybridise.

MEDICINAL: Leaves bruised, steeped in water. Decoction used for paipai, a skin complaint (Taylor 1870 ; Kerry-Nicholls 1886).
‘aromatic and stimulant’ Taylor 1870
Bark – substitute for quinine (Kirk, in Taylor 1870). ‘aromatic and pungent … the ‘Winter’s Bark’ of New Zealand’ (Armstrong 1870).
Occasionally used by settlers suffering from diarrhoea (Kirk 1889).
Sap used by bushmen for stomach ache (Goldie 1905 ; Best 1906, 1908).
Leaves – decoction called ‘bushman’s painkiller’. Chewed for toothache. Rubbed on breast when weaning infants – gives bitter taste (Best 1908, 1929 ; Adams 1945)
Excellent astringent and stimulating properties; anti-scorbutic (Faulkner 1958).
Leaves – infusion for chest ailments. A tablespoon is difficult to swallow, leaves burning sensation in throat and chest (Collier 1959).
For related pharmacology, see Brooker, Cambie and Cooper, 1987.

CHEMISTRY: Essential oils ; 29 compounds isolated that correspond with those found in P. colorata (Briggs et al, 1975).
Brooker, Cambie and Cooper, 1987 state that a decoction of the leaves strongly desensitises humans to sweet and possibly bitter taste sensations without affecting sensitivity to salty and sour properties.

King Tawhio’s Fern Collection

Check out King Tawhio’s 1886 fern collection held at Te Papa.  Its amazing and they have hand written rongoa uses on some of the pages as well.  You can buy individual prints from Te Papa if you would like your own set.

Go to;

Sophora tetraptera J.F.Mill.; uncertain

Nga Rakau a Tane – korero with Wiremu Doherty & Manu Paul

photo by frabn

Visit this link on TV on demand

 to watch the Waka Huia episode Nga Rakau a Tane screened October 2009.  It is a korero with Ahorangi Dougherty (Tuhoe & Ngati Tawhaki) & Manu Paul (Ngati Manawa) about the some of our taonga in the ngahere.  They discuss traditional uses for some of the plants and touch on some political considerations relating to the ngahere.
Once again  – thanks to Rob Whitbourne for sharing the link to this program.

Wiremu (Bill) Tawhai -Te Whanau Apanui, on Maramataka and Growing Kumara

Te Whanau Apanui

Bill Tawhai is another of our living treasures and features in a Waka Huia TV program screened in June 2009 .  Bill talks about Maramataka (the Maori Calendar) and what each of the days represent for Maori – his korero goes well beyond planting and fishing by the moon.  It is about what humans need for survival and guides us towards wellbeing.  The second part of the show talks about how his family embarked on a project to  grow, harvest and store Kumara the traditional way and how this project has strengthened their whanau.   A truely inspirational and caring man.

Double click on this link to view the video, which also has English subtitles) . 


 Thank you to Rob Whitbourne for drawing our attention to Bill’s korero.

Otago Pharmacy Students

This site has been compiled by fourth year University of Otago Pharmacy Students who have undertaken an elective study on a variety of traditional Maori medicines. It includes information on the history of Rongoa and a list of more that 40 plants and their uses by Maori.