Rob McGowan (NZ) JP (M.Soc.Sc. Waikato)

Rob McGowanRob McGowan author of “Rongoa Maori – a practical guide to traditional Maori Medicine” (2009) is the Amo Aratu for Nga Whenua Rahui (NWR), a contestable Ministerial fund established in 1991 to provide funding for the protection of indigenous ecosystems on Maori land.

Rob is one of the foremost authorities on rongoa Maori (traditional Maori medicine) and is well respected nationally for his work with and for the restoration of rongoā Māori  practice in New Zealand. He has been involved for more than 20 years in teaching, researching and assisting Maori re-engage in traditional uses of New Zealand native plants, particularly for medicine.  Rob is a regular presenter on Maori Television’s “Kiwi Maara & Maara Kai” programmes sharing his vast knowledge on rongoa Maori with the New Zealand public.

As the current Chair of the Kaimai-Mamaku Catchments Forum he is involved in ensuring the Tauranga Harbour and Waihou catchments are sustainably managed.

He has also provided input into aspects of intellectual property issues relating to the Waitangi Tribunal’s Wai 262 report and served as a rongoa Maori advisor to numerous Government committees, Maori tribal authorities and for a number of rongoa Maori related research and education initiatives.

Rob is also one of the founders of Tane’s Tree Trust a non-profit charitable trust that was established more than 10 years ago which encourages  New Zealand landowners to successfully plant and sustainably manage indigenous trees for multiple uses.   He remains an active Trustee.

Rob has been a long time member of the Bay of Plenty Conservation Board and past Chairman. For many years he was also engaged by the University of Waikato as Continuing Education Officer.

He is a former Catholic priest and a fluent speaker of te reo Maori.

Shaping Our Traditions

Rob will outline briefly how the traditions and knowledge relating to rongoa Maori was passed on and safeguarded, and reflect how that relates to the practice of herbal medicine in the 21st century.

His presentation will discuss why we need to take control what we want to share with other traditions and how we continue to protect the integrity of herbal medicine. We need to accept the responsibility of upholding our traditions as it is the wisdom within our traditions that will guide us into the future.  We must not be so consumed by the” business” of traditional medicine that we leave our traditions behind.