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traditional Māori healing / rongoā / mirimiri / te taiao


Our kaupapa is to protect the mana of our natural resources, 

the mauri of the whenua and the well-being of wāhine and their whanau


Te Waka Rākau is a registered charitable organisation operating as a not-for-profit social enterprise. It was formed in 2016 to bring wāhine and their whanau together to share their stories through the traditional practice of Rongoā Māori. Their stories and healing are shared through the rongoā they create. 

Joanne Hakaraia opened The Rongoā Shop & Dispensary with a mission to bridge traditional plant remedies to modern day needs and imbalances. We believe in sustainable growth, from the inception of the plants we use, to our business practice. Our project educates and supports fair trade practices to create remedies that benefit people from all walks of life.

The Rongoā Shop & Dispensary is composed of locally sourced native flora herbal formulas. We aim to continuously source pristine, unadulturated and wholesome medicines for mind, body and soul wellness. We are devoted to making vibrant and medicinally potent remedies that honours the principles of harmony and ancient formulation.


The products that we make and the knowledge that we share about rongoā is passed down through whakapapa. When you hold a product of ours in your hand, we want you to know where it came from, what's in it and how it came about.


The Rongoā Shop & Dispensary developed from the delivery of our rongoā workshops. Most of our products are hand produced by our local rongoā roopu or are made by kairongoā. We do everything from local harvesting to manufacture. Our range of recipes are created to support the work that we do with our local community. We have Mirimiri (massage) balms & oils that are for specific uses as well as a range for all over body massage. 

Rongoā Dispensary

We also provide a Rongoā Dispensary which entails a rongoā tea made up for optimum health.

Our rongoā roopu work alongside Greater Wellington Regional Council by keeping the pathways clear of overhanging branches and foliage at Chrystalls Bend Walkway. We maintain sustainable practises to ensure tīkanga is upheld and use the harvest for our Rongoā Dispensary.

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The Rongoā Space

In 2021, the rongoā roopu planted 600 rākau along the Ōtaki river and next year we will plant another 500. It's a rongoā space provided to us by Greater Wellington Regional Council and will be used for educational purposes as well as for harvesting.

The roopu are avid students of rongoā from around Kapiti Coast. The rongoā space provides a sense of identity and connection to community as well as health and wellbeing. There is a yearning to learn about the rich tradition of rongoā as it is an integral part of our identity.

Rongoā Trails are currently being delivered at Chrystalls Bend Walkway and we will eventually fully utilise the rongoā space to provide outdoor workshops. The plants will also be labelled so visitors can learn about their medicinal uses on their walks.

In 2020 we became a registered charitable organisation operating as a not-for-profit social enterprise. 

Over the past 4 years, our initiatives have evolved and our rongoā community has grown. We now deliver a 9 month rongoā wānanga that focuses primarily on the mauri of plants. The workshops that we hold in our local community include plant identification, stream restoration, seed collecting, nursery management, rongoā māori services and more. All profits that are not used to develop the business are donated to NZ registered charitable trusts. 


Rongoā Shop & Dispensary

Hyde Park Village
1 Te Horo Beach Road


Thursday - Sunday
10am - 3 pm


kai rongoa | kai mirimiri | kai tohu

Ko Tainui te waka

Ko Hoturoa te tangata

Ko Tararua ngā maunga pae

Ko Ōtaki me Waitohu ngā awa

Ko Ngāti Raukawa ki te tonga te iwi

Ko Ngāti Kapumanawawhiti me Ngāti Māiōtaki ngā hapū

Joanne is the rongoā practitioner, medicine maker, educator and founder of Te Waka Rākau. She is Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Whakaue and was born and raised in Otaki.  Joanne started Te Waka Rākau as both a service and a practice. Her love of rongoā grows deeper everyday and she knows that she has a responsibility to her tūpuna to keep the mātauranga alive. Her vision is to create a forest to apothecary experience through the art of medicine making with native plants. "By preserving these ancient forms of indigenous botany, we keep alive a very sacred aspect to Source." Te Waka Rākau was founded with the intention to bridge ancient healing traditions and plant remedies as a form of grass roots healthcare for today's modern world.



I have enjoyed making potions and lotions since I was a little girl. I could sense the healing magic during the 'cooking' process and loved being in that presence. I couldn't explain that presence back then but now I can and I try to relay that experience to everyone who is interested in learning. My grandmother was the light in my life. She taught me the power of karakia. She didn't use medicine because she believed in the power of Source and I felt that same presence whenever I was with her. She instilled in me the foundations that I needed for my life-path.

Rongoā was a way of living for my whanau. It wasn't separate, it was built in to a way of life and natural. I learnt from watching and observing the people around me. Dad used plants to heal his rugby injuries because it was quick healing and he wanted to be back on the field. Mum used karakia for healing. I learned to do a combination of both. 


I was born with intuitive sight. I remember 'reading' information around people but I had no language to interpret what I was seeing. I lived in a sensory world loaded with information but without words to express it. When I got older, I devoted my time to being able to understand and interpret sensory information. I learned to cultivate it and trained with healers that helped me convert this energy into a healing art that I could apply. I was very fortunate to have found many wonderful teachers who helped me to delve deep into the art of skilled questioning. 

I trained as a massage therapist and continued on to cultivate a private practice in West Auckland. I knew I was going to provide Mirimiri and not massage. I made my own rongoā oils for clients who had specific ailments. As soon as I worked with a plant it showed me what it could be used for. That 'presence' that I introduced earlier never left me. 


In my late 30's I made the decision to focus solely on rongoā. I wanted to specialise in it and truly understand the depths of what rongoā could reveal. Of course, the teachings are in the mauri and wairua of the plants.


In 2020, I moved back home with my husband Nick, to Otaki, the place that nurtured me growing up. I have since opened a Rongoā Shop & Dispensary where I still continue to learn about rongoā.  

Mauri ora,

Joanne Hakaraia-Olson

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