High hopes for her ron­goa ex­ports

South Waikato News - - Out & About -

A Toko­roa ben­e­fi­ciary and solo mother of six is aim­ing to turn her life around, and the lives of others, by ex­port­ing tra­di­tional Maori medicine.

Qual­i­fied ron­goa prac­ti­tioner Karla Crooks is in the process of ex­port­ing a line of her top­i­cal ron­goa (medicine) to Aus­tralia as a way of keep­ing lo­cal treat­ments af­ford­able.

Crooks, who re­cently opened an holis­tic well­be­ing clinic at the Toko­roa Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Marae­tai Rd called Rakau Ron­goa, makes an exclusive line of top­i­cal ron­goa, used to treat the likes of eczema, pim­ples, and der­mati­tis. She also makes in­ter­nal cleansers for con­di­tions that start in the gut.

While ad­her­ing to tra­di­tional tikanga (cus­toms) she’s adapted the way she makes many of her ron­goa through ex­per­i­men­ta­tion.

For fear of be­ing copied she wouldn’t go into the finer de­tails of how she makes her prod­ucts but said they are made from mainly lo­cally sourced nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents in­clud­ing ma­maku

"A lot of my clients want to keep pay­ing and it is so hard to take it be­cause I know they don't have any money."ron­goa prac­ti­tioner Karla Crooks

and kawakawa among others.

De­spite hav­ing lim­ited money she never asks for more than a koha (do­na­tion) for treat­ments at her clinic, be­liev­ing ron­goa should be free for all New Zealands, but she is also aware the clinic needs to be fi­nan­cially vi­able if it’s to con­tinue long term.

‘‘A lot of my clients want to keep pay­ing and it is so hard to take it be­cause I know they don’t have any money, ‘‘she said.

‘‘I am a solo mum, I am still on a ben­e­fit, and I am still try­ing to get off it but ron­goa is also not some­thing you should be prof­it­ing from as it is some­thing free, it be­longs to the peo­ple of New Zealand.’’

With nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tive medicines catch­ing on around the world she said ex­port­ing seemed like a good so­lu­tion.

‘‘I’ve al­ready sent some over to Aus­tralia and I have a brother in Perth who said he’ll help with the mar­ket­ing as i’m ter­ri­ble with it,’’ she said.

‘‘When my chil­dren say they want a tablet or a phone I say just wait man,’’ she laughed.

Crooks learnt how to make her medicines, which were widely used by Maori be­fore they were op­pressed in the early 1900s, while study­ing a level four Cer­tifi­cate in Ron­goa Maori Ap­pre­ci­a­tion at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

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