Mirimiri and romiromi – traditional Maori body treatments and treatments – are the focus of a South Island roadshow in March.
Jolie Davis (Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kurī) leads a group of 12 Wellington-based practitioners who will embark on an 18-day mirimiri tour through Te Waipounamu in March 2022.
The purpose of the tour is to promote mirimiri and romiromi (traditional Maori bodywork and healing) as an effective and holistic treatment to restore and maintain individual, whānau and community well-being.
Over the past 16 months, Manawa Ora has held regular community clinic days in Porirua, Lower Hutt and Wainuiomata. Up to 16 practitioners treat over 100 people per clinic day.
The Te Waipounamu roadshow is self-funded. We do not receive any community funding to do this. So a $20 processing fee basically covers travel, kai, and accommodations for the group.
Wellington clinic days are growing in popularity and now include many of our Pacific Island whānau, especially Porirua – who liken mirimiri to their traditional healing practices; that is to say; crazy.
Jolie Davis says, “The Whānau need and seek healing in ways and in settings that are relevant to them. They want access to safe and effective treatment – apart from clinical approaches and drug solutions.
“Mirimiri and romiromi provide that. During clinical days, we have music, we sing, we manaaki the whaiora (people in search of well-being), we allow them to laugh, to cry.
“For some, it’s the most amazing experience they’ve had in years. There is an exchange of energy – mauri-ki-te-mauri. And, of course, the release of stress and pain. Just being in space heals.
“People bring their friends, co-workers and family members for treatment. We have entire families returning to clinic days. We have developed relationships and we want to continue to develop them because it is important in terms of connection and well-being in the communities.
A major barrier to accessing treatment is cost. A wahine told us, “I can’t afford to spend $100 on myself, so I end up bearing the pain. But I can find $20 – those clinic days are awesome! Clinic days make treatment affordable and accessible to those who need it most.
These events are not only an opportunity for whānau to experience mirimiri and romiromi, but also to better understand what mirimiri is. that is to say; changing the misconception that mirimiri is just a massage. For many people this is their first experience and the intention is to make it a positive experience.
“Clinical days are one of the ways we reach into communities, raise the profile of rongoā Māori and normalize mirimiri and romiromi.”
In April this year, Manawa Ora was invited to Parliament by the Maori and Pacific Caucus to host a clinic day for MPs and staff. Jolie Davis says: “It was a wonderful opportunity to introduce mirimiri and romiromi, and as far as I know, the first time this has happened in parliament. The event was well received and we look forward to making it a regular wellness event.
Itinerary Te Waipounamu – March 2022:
Saturday March 5: Blenheim (location to be confirmed)
Sunday March 6: Nelson (location to be confirmed)
Tuesday, March 8: Hokitika (Westreap Center)
Thursday March 10: Queenstown (Sherwood)
Saturday March 12: Invercargill (The Pod)
Tuesday March 15: Dunedin (The Valley Project)
Thursday March 16: Christchurch (He Waka Tapu)
Saturday March 18: Christchurch (Phillips Town Community Hub)
Sunday March 20: Kaikōura (Memorial Hall)
Sessions last 20 minutes for $20. Reservations are made online via the Manawa Ora website: www.manawaora.org from January 10. Under current guidelines, we require everyone in attendance to be fully immunized.
The Manawa Ora team looks forward to sharing the healing kaupapa in the communities. It could probably become an annual event rather than a one-time event.