Māori healer, Helene Hakaraia doesn’t believe she has a gift.
She says she simply has an ability to see beyond the physical and has spent more than 35 years fostering this ability to help others.
Helene is part of Te Kahui Aroha Ki Waitaha – a collective of Christchurch-based Māori healers showcasing their expertise at Mātāora - Many Dimension's of Taiora Wellbeing on November 23.
The event will allow the public to meet Kaiwhakaora healers and experience the tāonga gifts they have to share.
Matekite is described by Helene as the ability to see, hear and feel beyond the physical world. She will be running a workshop at Mātāora on how to nurture mokopuna matekite.
“We’ve always had children who have been able to see that, and not just in our culture.”
Helene started practicing matekite underground, not too long after the Tohunga Suppression Act 1907 was repealed in 1962. She spent the first seven years refining her skills and finding practical ways to use it to give meaning to people’s lives. It has been her life’s work ever since.
Helene works one-on-one with people to help them make sense of what they are experiencing – be it seeing ancestors “no matter where they are in this world”.
“I aim to help people find ways to work with matekite to give them a good solid start in life again.”
She considers the sessions more educational than counselling. After a series of rituals, she wishes the vision well “so it does not continue to hinder a person’s life”.
She has seen people of all ages and backgrounds – some people have travelled from as far as the USA.
“For me, the most rewarding part is seeing someone emerge clear of mind and with a new sense of direction and life and just feeling happy.”
She speaks fondly of a man, who came to her, having never smiled. After addressing his matekite, he left her with a smile on his face.
Helene believes everyone has matekite but must learn how to understand and nurture it.
She is one of just a handful of Māori healers, who are practising in the public eye.
Helene says many healers remain underground, making it difficult to know just how many practising healers there are in New Zealand.
It is Helene’s hope that her style of work is one day widely accepted .