New rongoā workstream announced alongside Therapeutic Products Bill

  • Hon Peeni Henare

A new workstream has been established within government to consider how rongoā might be protected in legislation. This comes as the Therapeutic Products Bill is introduced in Parliament today, Associate Minister for Health (Māori) Hon Peeni Henare said.

“Under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Crown has an obligation to actively protect rongoā Māori. We also have a responsibility to provide all New Zealanders with health products and services that are safe, high-quality, and effective. That is why we have introduced the Therapeutic Products Bill to Parliament today.

“We recognise the importance of rongoā, and we have been carefully considering how to recognise and protect it. This has included consulting with Te Kāhui Rongoā, a governance body for rongoā practitioners, Māori clinicians and health providers.

This new rongoā work stream will explore the interface of the Therapeutic Products Bill and rongoā. The group will also explore whether rongoā matters are being addressed through other government work programmes.

“Officials within the workstream will analyse the Therapeutic Products Bill to identify any gaps and opportunities to protect rongoā Māori, assure whānau safety, and ensure access to the export market for practitioners.

“This will present a whole new world of opportunities for both rongoā practitioners and whānau living abroad who have been wanting to access rongoā and other natural health products from Aotearoa,” Peeni Henare said.

Now the Bill has been introduced to Parliament, there will be an opportunity for people to have their say at Select Committee. As part of the rongoā workstream, Manatū Hauora are currently planning to engage between February and March 2023 with Māori partners and stakeholders to capture their views.

“Rongoā practitioners, whānau and expert groups will have the opportunity to share their whakaaro through targeted engagement that will be led by Manatū Hauora. This will ensure their thoughts, experiences and aspirations for rongoā are appropriately reflected in legislation,” Peeni Henare said.

Manatū Hauora will provide advice to the Minister in April 2023, following targeted engagement with key stakeholders, Māori partners and expert groups over the next few months.

In parallel, Te Aka Whai Ora intend to lead a programme of work to build on investments made to date and to support the future sustainability of rongoā Māori.

To this end, Te Aka Whai Ora will be engaging with the rongoā sector through variety of channels, including their whānau voice programme, to:

  • surface Māori priorities and aspirations for preserving, protecting and supporting rongoā Māori
  • understand the mechanisms that are needed within the health system to support those Māori priorities and aspirations for the sustainability and viability of these important services
  • identify the funding paths and other resources needed for a sustainable rongoā Māori sector.

If you would like to be involved in the engagement process on the Therapeutic Products Bill led by Manatū Hauora which is part of the rongoā work stream, please contact the Ministry of Health at [email protected]

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