New book reveals traditional Māori healing for mental illness

By Mānia Clarke

Cultural Therapist Consultant Wiremu Nia Nia says traditional Māori healing practise is becoming more accepted among Aotearoa's mental health service. The spiritual healer is co-authour of a new book called Tātaihono, says in the past Māori practise had not been recognised. 

For over 15 years Nia Nia has been using Māori healing to help whānau suffering from mental illness.

"If patients tell me they a spirit or an ancestor, that's their experience.  I just acknowledge it and ask them to talk about it," he said,  "I guide them within the spiritual realm.  Yeah, so that they know they're not insane."

Nia Nia co-authored the new book Tātaihono that tells true cases of Māori Healing and Psychiatry.

"Many doctors have come to consult with me, with questions, seeking understanding about what I see, and I've told them, I see in the spirit realm."
Seven years ago Nia Nia, psychiatrist Allister Bush and clinical lecturer David Epston began writing the book. 

"Perhaps 40 years ago was the first time Māori healers were allowed into hospitals to work with those seeking help, but Pākeha still instructed Māori healers on how to practise."

Auckland University of Technology and Otago School of Medicine will use the book as a core text for their medical students.