Small Māori business that began at marae provides healing touch 

By Regan Paranihi

Romiromi Aronui is a small Māori business that was established in Manawatū last year. It is a kaupapa Māori driven business that began at the many marae of Te Reureu.  Moeroa Karatea grew up in the midst of Te Reureu and now he says this is his way to give back to his community.

"This is a healing regime for me so I want to share this gift with people," says romiromi practitioner Moeroa Karatea.

While romiromi and massage have similar attributes, it is said that romiromi is used as a healing regime.

"Spiritual, emotional relational therapy, it's more connecting with our tūpuna," says Romiromi Aronui administrator Te Aroha Burke.

"People carry a lot of stuff sometimes," says Karatea. "Trauma, mamae, stress that's just been hanging around with them for a long time and this is a way in which we can help alleviate that."

With the strict restrictions around Covid-19, some changes were made.

"We had to up our game and up the level of how we restructured that again and think about what we needed to do, the safety measures we had to put in place not only for our clients but for ourselves too," says finance administrator Pristine Burke.

The marae has been the shelter for these romiromi practices but with many marae closures this business has had to improvise.

"We have a new marae called Facebook at the moment. Genuinely, it was quite organic at the marae, we would take our table and people would ask. But now we don't take our table to Pukamata but people are still asking," says Karatea.

"Other than being passionate about this, I want to help people and often I say to people these hands are here to help you if you need."

Romiromi Aronui is encouraging anyone who may feel the strain of the pandemic or who is in need of a healing regime to reach out.