A passion for helping others and the joy that comes from that played a key role in Lyndal Kennedy’s decision to study rongoā at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (TWoA).
Rongoā is the practice of traditional Māori medicine and is something that Kawerau local, Lyndal has always felt called to.
“I’ve always had an interest in natural healing but I wanted to find out more about the tikanga around it and I wanted to do it properly, as in how to respect the plants.”
It was Lyndal’s Scottish grandparents that sparked her passion for rongoā. They both practiced natural healing and it was something that Lyndal grew up around.
As a single mum of four boys, aged 19, 17, 15 and 10, Lyndal already had her hands full. But her study has also been a way for her to give back to her whānau and provide care for them.
“One of my sons has quite an extensive medical history so the whole programme has complimented him and my dad has a lung condition so I’ve been able to learn things that help him too.”
Lyndal completed the Certificate in Rongoā (Level 4) at TWoA’s Kawerau campus, but this year she will go on to study the diploma to expand on her rongoā knowledge.
The rongoā programme has been a way for Lyndal to grow in many areas of her life, from caring for her whānau and community to the volunteer work that she does in her spare time.
“I volunteer my time at the Onepu Wetlands and we have an amazing source of rākau (plants) and resources. It’s classed as a kaitiakitanga (guardianship) role and my study has come in really handy, especially now that I will be doing the diploma.”
Lyndal has become known in the Kawerau community for her work with rongoā and natural healing and she often gets requests from locals for things like kūmara tea.
A lot of people come to Lyndal through word of mouth but she also offers natural healing and products through her Facebook page, Foraged BLENZ.
“I think there will always be a place for modern medicine but rongoā is catered to your own healing. Sometimes it can take a bit longer but you get there in the end.”