Rongoa Māori: A practical guide to traditional Māori Medicine by Rob McGowan

Rongoa Māori: A practical guide to traditional Māori Medicine by Rob McGowanKawakawa leaves Some rights reserved

Rongoa Māori is not a guide in the sense of providing a reader with a list of plants and methods for using them in their medicinal context. Instead, Rob McGowan has sought to describe the many aspects of rongoa for those ‘who would like to learn but do not have ready access to somebody who is able to teach them.’ However, within the book there is a very useful chapter carefully listing the other publications relating to Rongoa Māori. Colour bands along the edge of the pages are used to visually divide the chapters according to their subject areas. The use of large print also makes the presentation very appealing.

McGowan has been careful to include discussion about Māori health in relation to expectations covered in the Treaty of Waitangi. The issues around the Wai 262 claim, which relate to the use of rongoa Māori are also mentioned. This claim relates to multinational companies vying for intellectual property rights over those plants traditionally used by Māori for medicine. It is the coverage of these more controversial topics that makes the book particularly useful for students wishing to begin studies around critical areas of Māori rights in regard to rongoa.

The book is also available from some public libraries  or can be ordered from; Robert McGowan, 213 Waitao Road, RD5, Tauranga 3175.

Image by Jon Sullivan

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