After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 19, Arron Learmond began a journey of learning, researching and experimenting with herbal medicine and rongoā Māori.
Now at 46, he has just completed the Level 4 Certificate in Rongoā at the Kawerau campus of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. This allowed him to get the credentials he needed to serve him in the work he has been doing for many years.
“I decided to study rongoā because of my healing journey. 26 years ago, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and that’s the root of my journey. I wanted to find answers, so I went into herbal medicine.”
Two years ago, Arron opened Coastline Wellness Studio in Whakatāne to provide well-being services to his local community. These services include remedial massage, mirimiri, life coaching and rongoā.
Since completing the rongoā programme, Arron has registered with ACC New Zealand to provide rongoā services and says it has given him the confidence he needed to further reach his community.
“The programme guided me to share the knowledge that I’ve gained and it gave me the guts to do it. The scientific and experimental nature of the course reignited that curiosity in me to go out and create different concoctions.”
Arron was impressed with how engaging the programme and his kaiako (teacher), Vanessa Skipper, were. He said the learning went deeper than just rongoā.
“It’s a very practical programme which makes a lot of sense, given the nature of the content. It was exciting to learn everything, from tikanga right through to putting remedies together. It was refreshing.”
Arron hopes that through his clinic and the new knowledge he’s gained, he can continue to serve his community’s well-being and health needs.
“My biggest goal is to keep doing my work and sharing it with the community on all levels, not just in my clinic. I want to take it out to the community a bit further. It’s not just about plants; it’s about people; it’s about communication; it’s about connection.”