Traditional support from ACC

Rongoā practitioner, Teena Te Maro from Manaaki Tangata Consultants, works on competitors during the Waka Ama champs. Te Maro lives in Hamilton and is originally from Gisborne.

ACC is providing rongoā Māori – traditional Māori healing – at this week’s national Waka Ama championships.

Its partnership with Waka Ama is part of a strategy, Huakina Te Rā, which has the vision of Tōnui Ake Nei – A Thriving Aotearoa.

So the thousands of competitors at this week’s event at Lake Karāpiro have access to the biggest tent on site, a whānau zone where they can get a traditional ACC health message.

Rongoā Māori includes herbal remedies, physical therapies and spiritual healing.

Māori are twice as likely to suffer a serious injury than non-Māori, but 34 percent less likely to make an ACC claim. Similarly, Māori clients generally account for 12 percent of new claims but account for 16.7 percent of the population.

The agency wants to balance those figures up and has made efforts to lift its profile at Karāpiro.

About seven in 10 competitors in Waka Ama events are Māori or Pasifika and this week’s event is the biggest of its kind.

“Waka Ama as an event is truly unique,” ACC chief executive Lara Collins said. “In the sense that multiple generations of one whānau can compete at the same event, from tamariki through to kaumātua, that’s what makes Waka Ama – mā te katoa, mō āke tonu (for all, for life).

Deputy chief executive – Māori Tumuaki Whakarae Renata Blair (Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei) said ACC was focussed on providing a better service to whānau Māori and Māori communities.

If ACC has agreed to provide support for an injury, claimants can request rongoā Māori as part of their rehabilitation.

Rongoā Māori claim volumes more than doubled in the 12 months to November 2023 to 5649. Rongoā services are also being accessed by 59 percent of all clients.

Rongoā practitioner, Teena Te Maro from Manaaki Tangata Consultants, works on competitors during the Waka Ama champs. Te Maro lives in Hamilton but is originally from Gisborne.

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