From Kauri Dieback to Kauri Ora

Aug. 2, 2021, 4:14 p.m.

Efforts to save New Zealand's kauri forests continue and a call to change the name of kauri dieback disease has been put forward.

Tohunga rongoā, Tohe Ashby is dedicated to healing kauri trees. He says the spiritual aspect is key to the well-being of kauri.

The name kauri dieback disease is shrouded in negative vibrations, says Ashby who believes that it isn't conducive to the health of kauri. He says that anyone who works with the trees should focus on their well-being as opposed to their illness.

He's come up with the name "kauri ora" which means "well kauri" and uses this instead of kauri dieback.

Traditional Māori narratives speak of the connection between tohorā, the whale and kauri. Ashby noticed a correlation between a rise in local whale strandings and kauri ora. He took this as a tohu, a sign that the giants of the sea wished to help the giants of the forest.

Through the generocity of iwi in gifting bones and oil from whale strandings, Ashby has been able to create tohorā rongoā to apply topically to affected trees alongside karakia, something he says is improving the kauri ora situation.

For the full story, watch the clip above.

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