Rongoa

I was at a meeting recently.. there does seem to be quite a rise in interest to learn ‘Te Reo Maori’ (NZ indigenous language), even amongst the ‘non-indigenous – Pakeha’ (like I&I). I asked a maori speaker, if they have a word for cannabis. The reply was not specifically, BUT the word ‘Rongoa’ means traditional or herbal medicine. In-light of recent moves overseas to allow exemptions for traditionally accepted plants (inc. Cannabis) to be grown & used, for their therapeutic purposes.. maybe it could get approval too. I accept that cannabis is not indigenous to Aotearoa/NZ, but there was a wide tradition of using ‘Rongoa’ long before the ‘Pakeha’ arrived & even in the 19th Century, this tradition continued : Mother Mary Aubert (French catholic nun) had a broad knowledge of & produced a line of medicines (Rongoa) that followed this tradition. It is also reported that she too used Cannabis in these preparations (it was still legal in NZ at this time). The comment that it ‘not an indigenous plant to NZ’ does not really wash.. when USA has recently allowed their ‘Native tribes’ (first nations) to grow it on traditional reservations. Jamaican Rastafarians also claim it as a ‘traditional sacrament’ known as ‘GANJA’. Then there is Coca in South America, Opium in Asia & of course; Cannabis (aka ‘Bhang’) is accepted on the Indian Sub-continent, for medicinal, religious & personal uses.

So may I suggest, if you are in NZ & using cannabis (for its medicinal/therapeutic properties).. then call it: ‘RONGOA’ 🙂

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