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Healing through mātauranga Māori

Healing through mātauranga Māori

Two women are seated at a table, you can only see their hands. The woman on the left, wearing blue, has a Māori tattoo on her arm and is holding a green mug. The woman on the right is slightly out of frame, her hands gesturing kindly.

Molly’s* life took a turn when she became the victim of a harrowing incident, kidnapped and grievously assaulted by her ex-partner at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. For three and a half years, Molly lived in emergency housing, suffering from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury.

When Support Worker Dee met Molly in early 2023, Kainga Ora were evicting her back to social housing. Molly felt alone and abandoned, all the while battling her medical issues. She needed someone to walk beside her.

Dee and Molly worked together to create an action plan. They found a new Support Worker who referred Molly to women’s-only accommodation. Here, Molly joined workshops, where she slowly regained her whakapono, her belief in herself – and soon began mentoring fellow residents.

“Molly has intrinsically used principles of mātauranga Māori throughout her life”, says Dee. “However, her mauri was languishing at the time of our first meeting.”

Once Molly’s support systems were rebuilt, she was finally able to focus on her tinana (physical) health, instead of living in survival mode. Molly’s future included the integration of romiromi, mirimiri, and rōngoa Māori as essential components of her plan.

Today, Molly lives in her own flat, aspiring to become a Support Worker with a focus on Māori communities. Molly is a courageous wāhine toa, embodying resilience and hope, showing the profound impact of embracing Te Ao Māori within the work of Manaaki Tāngata Victim Support.

“From the beginning, Molly has shown manaakitanga and built her recovery to a place where she embodied whakawhanaungatanga, kotahitanga and a focus on strengths instead of weaknesses”, says Dee. “I am privileged to stand beside her as her mauri changed.”

*Name changed to protect the victim’s identity.

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