Traditional therapy provides healing for rape victims

By Taroi Black

Hinewirangi Kohu-Morgan is a victim of sexual assault and uses taonga pūoro as the treatment for other victims. The initiative is part of Rape Awareness Week and aims to help victims come forward as Police release reports of sexual assault.

Sound and instruments have helped Hinewirangi Kohu-Morgan move on from her past.

“So my workshop is around learning to hear that voice in the puku and to let it rise and be aware that it is part of the pain that you're already in and releasing out of your body.”

Ka Ata Mai is a weeklong healing workshop for women and will run through Rape Awareness Week. Kohu-Morgan, a former victim of sexual abuse, says she also works with sexual assault offenders in Waikeria Prison.

“My work and my passion in the state of my forgiveness has come to that place where I need to help these men re-direct their lives and become who they were born to be.” 

The New Zealand Police has released a series of videos to encourage victims to come forward. In the past three years, there have been over 1400 reported sexual abuse cases between family members in NZ.   

“That doesn't surprise me because when you look at the act of colonisation on our people and they are imploding, not exploding but imploding and punishing ourselves. So it's about coming to a space and I’m always happy to awhi that process because it's really hard to find someone who has worked through and in a state of forgiveness.”

After Rape Awareness Week, Hinewirangi Kohu-Morgan will continue running her workshops to assist and treat victims of sexual assault.