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Māori health garners global audience online

Monday, 3 August 2020  
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Picture: Rikki Solomon editor Rebecca McBeth


Māori health and wellness practices garnered a global audience during the Covid-19 pandemic, with thousands of people watching daily FaceBook Live broadcasts by Turuki Healthcare.

Clinical director of the health centre Lily Fraser says they have always used FaceBook to reach out to patients and during lockdown they ramped up online contact.

Every morning, they broadcast Orokora, a Māori medication class, sometimes attracting more than 10,000 people and hundreds of comments from around the world. The class involves meditation and movement with Karakia.

The health centre had been planning to start offering Orokora as part of its wellness programme, providing weekend wananga (courses), but when it became impossible to meet in-person, they decided to start broadcasting them for free online.

“That was really great for people at home who wanted to get a little bit more connected with themselves or the environment or Māori culture,” says Fraser.

Also, Maramataka, facilitated by Rikki Solomon, which teaches about the Māori lunar calendar and the best days for planting, fishing and harvesting, as well as high and low energy days.

“Usually these are face-to-face interactive sessions, but Rikki started doing half hour live-streams of what was happening in Maramataka all through lockdown right through until level one,” says Fraser.

“Lots of people are learning about this now and there’s a hunger for this knowledge, so having that available every day for people at home was really positive because at home is a really good time to start learning new things and we had great feedback on that.”

Another daily occurrence was a karakia done every night at 7pm, which attracted people from all over the globe sending requests for prayers for themselves and their families. 

Wiremu and Leslie Niania, who continue to do the nightly Karakia, work as part of the clinic team with people who want support with Taha wairua (spiritual wellbeing).

The centre’s live streamed cooking classes continued during lockdown and antenatal wananga also went entirely virtual, using Zoom to connect with expecting mothers.

Fraser says these attracted the same number of participants as in-person classes and were very well received.

She says the centre is looking at how it can continue to connect with people online and all videos are being made available permanently via FaceBook and YouTube.

“People may have usually been working so haven’t been able to come to sessions during the day and our doctors and nurses were promoting these, on the phone, to people feeling stressed or down,” Fraser says.

“It’s been really great and it’s definitely reached more people.”


If you would like to provide feedback on this news story, please contact the editor Rebecca McBeth.

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