Dr Charlotte Mildon - portrait shot

Local Hauora Heroes

Dr Charlotte Mildon

AIO Healing

Kia Ora! Ko wai au?

I te taha o tōku whaea, ko Tuhirangi te maunga, ko Tutaekuri te awa, ko Ngāti Hinepare me Ngāti Maahu ngā hapū, ko Moteo te marae. Nō Ahuriri ia.

I te taha o tōku papa, ko Whakapunake te maunga, ko Te Wairoa Hōpūpū, ko Hōnengenenge Matangi rau te awa, ko Ngāti Hinganga te hapū, ko Puutahi te marae. Nō Wairoa ia.

Ko Horouta me Takitimu ōku waka. Ko Ngāti Hinemanuhiri, ko Rongomaiwāhine, ko Ngāti Porou, ko Ngāti Ruapani me Ngāti Kahungunu ōku iwi. Kei Pukehamomoa au e noho ana.

What is your hauora kaupapa about? What inspired you to get involved with this kaupapa?

A key finding in my doctoral research was that traditional Māori healing rituals and practices are a ‘way of living’ rather than just being a healing modality for when you are māuiui.

My whakapapa claims descent from a long line of Tohunga kuia and Tohunga koroua. Being mentored by experts informed my traditional Māori healing practice that has extended over 30 years. I had no choice learning from these Tohunga and Tohuna as they chose me to teach not the other way around because they could see what I would do with the mātauranga. Unbeknown to me at the time, I was blessed to be mentored by internationally acclaimed priests and priestesses like Tohuna Dr Pere (17 years), Tohunga romiromi Atarangi Muru (12 years), Tohunga Ahurewa (priest/ess of a higher order) Joe De La Mere (2 years) and Manu Korewha (10 years) and Tohunga Matekite Pineaha Murray (2 years) as well as the Tohunga Rongoā Te Awhina Riwaka (2 years) and Tohunga Rongoā Tom Maraki (5 years).

Experts of this caliber provided me with the skills to understand how to heal whaiora using deeply spiritual rituals like for instance, matekitetanga, wairuatanga, romiromi, mirimiri and rongoā Māori. Their ongoing mentoring both in the physical and the spiritual realms, enabled me to work effectively with high needs whānau suffering from spiritual afflictions like mate Māori, mate pōrangi, mate haurangi, and mate mākutu. Also, I had learned to heal a vast range of mental health diseases, long-term chronic diseases and injuries, incurable disorders, addictions, spiritual imbalances, domestic violence, eating disorders and sexual abuse.


In your opinion, what are the biggest hauora challenges whānau Māori are facing in the wider Hawke’s Bay area? What do we need to do to improve this?

My most recent publication ‘Rongoā Māori report for High Needs Whānau in Ahuriri’ is soon to be released. It outlines how Ngāti Kahungunu have the highest negative health and mental health statistics in Aotearoa. In light of this, hauora for me is about role modelling a better ‘way of living’ for our mokopuna to stop the cycle of intergenerational trauma. To maintain holistic wellbeing for our whānau, it is vital to clean the body’s systems, make necessary dietary changes, seek out natural healing rongoā remedies and be aware of using the traditional Māori healing processes of romiromi when needed.


If you could change one thing for the wellbeing of whānau Māori in our rohe, what would it be?

My vision is to provide fully funded traditional Māori healing services, led by authentic Tohunga who whakapapa to Ngāti Rongomaiwāhine and Ngāti Kahungunu and have been mentored by reputable Tohunga for many decades. Once the equilibrium for whaiora is restored, they are encouraged to bring their entire whānau to traditional Māori healing wānanga to maintain holistic well-being at home. My charitable trust coordinates traditional Māori healing romiromi and rongoā wānanga in our local community and the positive outcomes for the whaiora and their whānau, is life changing.


What does tino rangatiratanga mean to you in relation to health and wellbeing?

Ki au nei, tino rangatiratanga is about connecting to te taiao as our whakapapa, acknowledging both the female and male Atua as personified spiritual phenomena of nature, who according to my teachers, both Tohuna and Tohunga, are at the source of all healing. In my experience, when the whānau normalise natural rongoā remedies, romiromi and spiritual healing practices in the home, the younger members of the whānau are able to grasp this mātauranga at an early age, resulting in them being fluent in the ancestral ways of healing, for life. Tihei Mauri Ora!


What is your favourite whakataukī relating to health and wellness and why?

He Whakataukī: Kia mahi tahi ki te waihoe – working together for future generations

Dr Charlotte Mildon - portrait shot

Jackson Waerea pictured with his whānau

Local Hauora Heroes

Jackson Waerea

Project PATU

Jackson Waerea, Director and founder of Patu Heretaunga, is a proud father of three beautiful tamariki, with whakapapa ties to Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Toa and Ngāi Tahu.

Waerea was one of the founding creators of PATU Aotearoa, an exercise programme aimed at improving the fitness and health of Māori and Pasifika people. Since its creation the kaupapa has evolved, with Waerea now directing PATU Heretaunga which focuses on broader hauora initiatives and programmes. With the difficulties of COVID lockdowns and the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle, PATU Heretaunga has grown to meet the needs of locals, with their programme Project PATU focusing on supporting young people.

Through his mahi Jackson spends his days passing on his passion for exercise to rangatahi, connecting them with the taiao and whakapapa in order to support their development, giving them skills that will support their whānau for generations to come. We sat down with Jackson for a kōrero about Project PATU, his driving forces and his aspirations for our people.

1. Project PATU is such an awesome whānau-centric kaupapa, how has your own upbringing led to your involvement and mahi in the hauora space?

Our whãnau are from Bridge Pa but we were raised in Flaxmere. Growing up in Flaxmere, a lot of our friends used sports and exercise as an outlet, over the years it grew into a passion and motivation for improving the wellbeing of our whãnau.


2. What is Project PATU about? What inspired you to get involved with this kaupapa?

Project PATU, is a 6-week rangatahi programme that focuses on 3 pillars: Education, Hauora and Employment. Our programme leans on our hauora pillar as the vehicle to support disengaged youth with education or employment goals. Exercise and activities with a connection to the taiao shape a lot of our daily routines. We use Kahungunu landmarks like our maunga, moana and awa to deliver our mahi. We also gather and process meat, go hunting, diving, fishing & eeling, tend to our maara kai, go foraging, prepare hāngī, and do cooking.

The hauora space has always appealed to me because as children we were lucky to be connected to our marae and all of the things happening around it. We were taught the core values of pride, honour and respect at the marae and how to manaaki our visitors through kai and aroha. These simple values I apply to my daily mahi and hauora spaces I’m involved with.


3. What is your favourite thing about your mahi? What keeps you going?

I’m very grateful I get to do this mahi for a living. There is no greater wealth than helping our people — I couldn’t be any richer.


4. If you could change one thing for the wellbeing of whānau Māori in our rohe, what would it be?

I would give our whānau the self-belief that anything is possible regardless of our situation, especially our rangatahi. There is so much potential in the minds and hearts of our Kahungunu rangatahi. We just need to give them the tools and support to achieve it.


5. What does tino rangatiratanga mean to you in relation to health and wellbeing?

Tino rangatiratanga means being in control of our own hauora. Celebrating the smalls wins not just in physical health but in everyday things.


6. What is your favourite quote relating to health and wellness?

“Mahi don’t stop!”


To keep up to date with Jackson and the awesome mahi his team are doing at PATU Heretaunga, follow them on Facebook: PATU Heretaunga

Jackson Waerea pictured with his whānau