Davina Thompson (Ngāti Awa, Te Arawa) has made almost 1000 rongoā Māori packs. Made with little funds and a lot of aroha, these rongoā packs are even helping people from Kawerau to Whangārei.
Davina says her grandparents taught her to make medicine when she was a child.
Growing up learning about rongoā ingredients she says, “They are extremely important, they are in our DNA. Western medicine, [sic] they work but they are not a part of our DNA. But these rongoā Māori are.”
Her passion for rongoā is now helping Te Māhurehure Marae to distribute rongoā to its Ngāpuhi descendants.
“I make little bits of rongoā Māori at home. Te Māhurehure Marae approached me and asked if I could make some rongoā Māori for their care packs,” she says.
She admits that she doesn’t sell her rongoā rather that anyone who asks may receive. However, koha is accepted by way of pūtea or ingredients.
“Because I am just myself. Not funded by the Government or anything like that, I can only do what I can,” Davina says.
The rongoā master takes to social media when she needs ingredients and her community always come through for her.
“I put a pānui on my Facebook page and just asked whānau if they could give a koha and [sic] just ingredients and stuff. Whānau just gave with their heart, it was so beautiful.”
Thompson has started making remedies to keep whānau strong in the cold months ahead.
“Just the healing properties of every rau. So when they go into the homes, they take their superpowers with them.”
No doubt those superpowers will be greatly appreciated by whānau this winter.