Last Thursday 25 January was held the reopening ceremony of the Suzanne Aubert Rongoā Garden, which contains a collection of native plant specimens used by Suzanne Aubert and the Maori healers and herbalists who assisted her.
Sisters Margaret Anne Mills, Sue Cosgrove, Josephine Gorman, Veronica Hurrings, along with other whānau members of Compassion, attended the official opening of the Suzanne Aubert Native Plant Garden, located inside (restricted access) the Industrial Research Limited in Gracefield, Lower Hutt, and planted on 7 June 2000 through a project led by Callaghan Innovation – Te Pokapū Auaha, by the Sisters of Compassion, Ngati Ruaka, Ngati Kotahi, and Industrial Research Ltd (IRI) in recognition of the collaborative scientific study of Suzanne Aubert’s herbal remedies.
Rongoā refers to the traditional Māori healing system based on Te Whare Tapa Whā (the four pillars) of health: wairua (spiritual), tinana (physical), hinengaro (psychological) and whānau (family). Rongoā rākau (plant remedies) form an integral part of Rongoā Māori, with a wide variety of plants used to treat numerous conditions, and Meri Hōhepa Suzanne Aubert was an important believer and steward of the Rongoā Māori in the late 19th century. Hence, the plants in this garden predominantly contain Rongoā properties.