Regional | Cancer

Patients with rare cancer to receive Rongoā Māori at conference after Hireme-Smiler approach

Credit: Stephen Barker / NZ Herald

An approach by league star Honey Hireme-Smiler (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Haua, Waikato-Tainui) will see patients with a rare form of bile duct cancer receive traditional Māori healing and bodywork at a Wellington conference this week.

Jolie Davis (Ngāti Kūrī, Te Rarawa) who leads a Wellington-based group of healers, Manawa Ora Mirimiri, says she received an email from Hireme-Smiler enquiring if the rōpū would provide mirimiri and romiromi at the Cholangiocarcinoma Cancer Foundation Conference in the capital this Thursday through Saturday, 16 to 18 February.

"I rang the rest of our team straight away and we agreed this was a cause we would love to support," says Davis. "It's about whānau who are going through this rare form of cancer where the survival rate is low and pressure on whānau and carers is huge as a result.

"Mirimiri and romiromi can provide relief from the stress and holistic healing for both the patients and their carers to address the trauma and ease their pain - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual."

Hireme-Smiler's partner Rochelle was diagnosed with this cancer in December 2021. The former Kiwi Ferns captain told Te Ao Māori News on Sunday she is "very grateful to Jolie and her team for helping out our patients".

About 20 people, including 10 patients and their carers, will come together from across Aotearoa for the conference in order to learn about the cancer and share and learn from each other’s journeys and stories.

Based in Lower Hutt, Manawa Ora Mirimiri says it is the largest provider of Rongoā Māori in the Wellington region.