Both the ladies were former psychology professors from Texas. They had long CVs and an enormous amount of experience. They were also open to new thinking. One of them had come to New Zealand a year previously and we had struck up a friendship based on common values and humour, as I escorted her group around on a generalist tour of the country. When she experienced a real powhiri (welcome by Maori) in Taupo she had become fascinated by Maori culture and history and wanted to know more.
One of our conversations touched on Maori healing and this special place I knew up in the Far North. She found this particularly fascinating. Not a lot of people know that when we adopted our name "Ahipara" we also went through a formal process of asking the senior marae at Ahipara, Roma Marae, for permission to use the name. We did this as someone had told us that when you link yourself to the name of a place, you also link youself spiritually to the people of that place, living, dead, and yet to come. So we wanted to make the spiritual side right and were graciously accorded permission to use the name once it was understood our motives were genuine.
Roma Marae is a special place. It is known in the Maori world as a place of healing. Over the years we have taken a number of explorers to this place - probably on half a dozen different occasions. It is definitely not a mainstream experience and probably not something for a first-time visitor to the country. It is something hidden, special, which needs to be searched for. The healers at the marae use a variety of different methods, from deep tissue to hands-on, hands-off and crystals - all anchored by the gentle traditions of the marae within the local landscape. Once we had healers travel to a luxury lodge in the Bay of Islands to do their mahi (work). It was not nearly as effective as when they drew their energy from their place, so we now only recommend this at the marae.
Effective? Let's say that every single one of the people we have brought here has had their lives changed in some way by this experience. We know that because they have told us.
Our two Texan ladies had put their hands up for a 5-day session. This involved healing in the evenings and exploration of marae protocol, weaving, local foods, and local places during the day. This also gave time to think, process what was happening, ask questions, and understand the place. They left with mobility in their limbs which they'd only seen 20 years ago, lack of pain in body parts which had been in pain for 15+ years, and a lifelong link between them and theirs and Roma Marae and its healers. Guided by the very wise Pare Nathan and humorous but staunch Buddy, this marae is a very special place indeed.