In sunny Hawkes Bay, we are right in the midst of winter with snow on the ranges with some chilling winds but out here in the country, the new lambs being born every day is such a joy. This month, Charlotte will share some behind the scenes reflections of the Hinepuawaitanga Māori healing romiromi workshop series, held earlier this year. Charlotte’s latest book, He Atua Wāhine at the source of ancient Māori healing wisdom, was a finalist in the Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust (AWCT) book award for 2019.Keep reading for the results of the AWCT book award. It’s business as usual at the Health Boutique in Hastings where Charlotte works with Dr Sharon Awatere, an ACC accredited Māori Osteopath and Acupuncturist whose focus is chronic pain management. Charlotte deals with the mental health effects of various forms of chronic pain and as the director of AIO Healing, she is contracted by Health Hawkes Bay (HHB) to provide Indigenous Māori counselling.
The recent Mental Health inquiry pointed out how whai-ora, the majority of whom are Māori, want the choice of Māori healing and rongoā Māori.The HHB mental health program offers packages of care to fund counselling sessions for whai-ora wanting to be referred to AIO Healing. In order for whai-ora to have a package of care with AIO Healing, the whai-ora must fit into the low to medium mental health criteria. A referral to AIO Healing can only be given by a GP using a PHQ-9 questionnaire to determine the score. If the score meets the criteria then the GP will send the referral for AIO Healing to HHB who will then send your referral through to Charlotte. In these counselling sessions, Charlotte shares a range of romiromi Māori healing techniques and natural rongoā remedies so whai-ora can learn how to heal themselves and their whānau. If you are still unsure of how this works, then send a message to Charlotte directly on her website.
The Hinepuawaitanga wānanga series were specifically for wāhine Māori in low income households and hard to reach communities. The initial idea came from the late Manu Korewha, a Ngaapuhi Tohunga Ahurewa, who told Charlotte to work with the mothers because she would heal the family. Part of Charlotte’s doctoral research focused on the mothers as the leading educators, nurturers and healers of the whānau. Her initiative was driven by an ACC report that identified wāhine Māori in the Hawkes Bay and Tairawhiti areas, as being amongst the highest statistics of injuries i.e., mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse that often results in chronic pain and holistic imbalances.
The concept of Hinepuawaitanga – the blossoming of the woman, originated with our local matekite (spiritual visionary) Marama Kire, a national mental health manager with Emerge Aotearoa. Marama channeled some old kuia who prophesied the wānanga series which was a gift for us that is very rare and precious. Life experience was an important priority when choosing facilitators for the Hinepuawaitanga wānanga as they had to stay out of human ego, remaining humble, compassionate and understanding of the taputanga (sacredness) of each woman’s unique healing experience. Having a high calibre of wāhine Māori facilitators, kept the kaupapa safe and ensured that the blossoming of the wāhine healing kaupapa, would be at its full potential.
Charlotte’s experience in healing is a result of 20 years of experience in Western counselling modalities dealing with her lived experiences in domestic violence, addictions and spiritual imbalances. She was mentored in her work for over 17 years by Tohuna, Tohunga and Tohunga Ahurewa both nationally and internationally. Her masters and doctoral research had a clear focus on validating the ancient practices of traditional Māori healing for Māori.
Barbara Nia Nia, a student of romiromi for almost 10 years with the Māori healers, trained in Social work, Hakomi and Psychotherapy, continues to work in the sexualized violence sector in Wellington. Her experience more than qualified her to share insights of healing from spiritual imbalances, sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Te Ataarangi Whenua Waaka, an experienced Māori spiritual healing teacher and practitioner, had over 20 years experience in ACC Sensitive claims counselling, and training in Romiromi Māori healing during 2017. Her expertise came from another knowledge base of healing, using her own lived experiences of non-mainstream and mainstream abuses, trauma and domestic violence.
Each Hinepuawaitanga wānanga had a specific theme as a result of the signs that came through spiritually a day or so before each wānanga. Before each wānanga, downloads of information would come through from the spiritual realms in either visions, symbols and/or signs that were at times quite unusual. Sometimes 3 of the facilitators would go into meditations in the early hours of the morning where they could all see different variations of the same spiritual experience. One time, Charlotte heard a humming noise in the bedroom at the other end of the house which turned out to be huge blowflies that had filled only one room of her house. On another occasion, three large blue moths with spots on their wings appeared in Charlotte’s house, a sign that Manu Korewha described as being very old knowledge from ancient beings. There were no instructions to follow, nor any programs so the facilitators had to trust in the wairua to guide them over the duration of the entire wānanga series. The expertise of the wānanga participants was of a very high standard in performing arts with Teorepi Ioane as our Cook Island Māori Hula teacher, as well as Alayna Hokianga and Becs Kaumau leading the action songs Kotiro Māori e and Paikea. As a collective consciousness, this was a special healing kaupapa for us all and we were very grateful to Te Puni Kokiri for funding this series of wānanga.
As a result of Charlotte’s Masters and PhD study (currently being examined), her latest book He Atua Wāhine at the source of ancient Māori healing wisdom was amongst the finalists in the 2019 Ashlie Wylie Mind Body Spirit literary book awards. The purpose of the award was to reward excellence for a published book that showed how everything is interconnected with deep insight into the Mind Body Spirit genre. The book awards sought literature that explored enlightenment, higher consciousness and expanded awareness. Charlotte’s book shared some real-life heartwarming stories about the female Māori Tohunga (healing priestess) and the female Tohuna (sower of the seeds of wisdom) whose vocation in life reflected the spiritual attributes of the male and the female Atua – the divine feminine.
Charlotte’s book came fifth amongst professors as well as some of New Zealand’s most well-known published authors who had written for 30 years. By making visible the healing attributes of the ancient mother energies in her book, Charlotte encouraged teachers to role model their own healing as a way of life not only for our future generations but to heal mother nature and all her progeny at the same time.
Whaia te iti kahurangi ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei If you bow you head, let it only be to the highest mountain