Indigenous | Canada

Mātauranga Māori big drawcard at Heal Our Spirit Worldwide conference

Māori youth ambassadors Ngā Rangatahi ā Iwi and Māori Public Health Hapai Te Hauora have been sharing mātauranga with their Indigenous equivalents from all over the world at this year’s Healing Our Spirit Worldwide conference.

Their mātauranga Māori has resonated with attendees such as the West Australian Mob and Winidi Tribe from Canada.

“We are overwhelmed that we have brought with us our babies and our children and their parents to support our group and those presenting today,” Ngā Rangatahi ā Iwi coordinator Erena Kihi said.

Kihi and her group of 41 youth from around Aotearoa aim to use this opportunity to unite and strengthen with indigenous peoples.

“We want to create a movement of youth from these lands and ours and indigenous youth around the world - that’s the hope that we have,” Kihi said.

Hāpai Te Hauora chief executive Janell Dymus-Kurei said her group was “super excited to finally get here safely to Canada on these beautiful lands, the unceded and ancestral territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) People”.

New Zealanders presenting

It was the second day of the conference. Healing Our Spirit Worldwide’s ninth gathering brings together thousands of Indigenous leaders and healthcare professionals from around the world to share and celebrate the healing power of traditional indigenous knowledge and cultures

There are 20 breakout rooms or workshops, five keynote speakers, and 600 keynote speakers over the entire week. More than 3,500 people have registered.

Ngā Rangatahi ā Iwi and Hāpai Te Hauora were among the New Zealand groups presenting on the second day.

Ngā Rangatahi ā Iwi is a group that brings together youth aged 18 – 35 to lead strategies for youth and implement them within their iwi. Its main objective is to empower youth in a way that is youth-led and youth-developed.

Hāpai Te Hauora aims to increase opportunities for the communities it serves to enjoy good health and to be sustained by healthy environments. “We do this by providing a strategic focus that is underpinned by evidence-based research for the advancement of health and well-being for all,” Kihi said.

Healing of the mind

Hāpai Te Hauora presented a health strategy called Whitiora, which is about the healing of the mind and well-being and strengthening within the contemporary world lived in. “And that we can look to our past to find solutions for the future,” Dymus-Kurei said.

Kihi said the objective of Ngā Rangatahi á Iwi‘s presentation “was for us to decipher what are the issues our youth are facing and also what are the solutions that can be found at gatherings like this”.

John Powell, chief of the Winidi Tribe in Canada, said he was excited about being at the Heal Our Spirit Worldwide conference because he and his people were able to connect with people who practice traditional healing and medicine.

“It is incredibly powerful and empowering and I think that we have a great opportunity to see what other people do and what works well for them,” Powell said.

Major Sumner, better known by friends and family as Moogy, is the leader of the Western Australia Mob, who along with Canada, opened the conference with song and dance. He spoke about colonisation bringing struggles for all indigenous peoples and First Nations people around the world.

“There are people of this land running their own programmes running their own prisons to heal their own people by using their own culture. We need to get this back home,” Moogy said.