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24 Whiringa-ā-nuku (October) 2010

"Tuwhitia te hopu mai rangatea te angitu."
'Man should suppress anxiety, because anxiety suppresses success.'
This week's whakatauki is explained by Pou Temara (nō Ngai Tuhoe).

In the fifth edition of our in-depth documentary series Whakatewhatewha, we explore how the traditional beliefs of tikanga Māori are reconciled with organ donations and transplants.

When it comes to life or death Pou Temara (nō Ngai Tūhoe) believes customary Māori beliefs and practices should be set aside. He uses stories of Maui, the bonding of Māori and Ngarara, and his experience talking with other experts on tikanga Māori to explain his position.

In her role as Cultural Advisor to the Auckland District Health Board Naida Glavish (nō Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Whatua) finds herself challenging what she sees as myths which surround the issue of organ donation. She often finds that she has to convince the Māori she's dealing with that the unauthorised removal of organs from bodies which occurred twenty years ago, no longer takes place. She talks with Justine Murray about how traditional Māori concepts collide with present day Māori health realities.

When Barry Williams (nō Taranaki whanui) learned he was sick and required a new liver he experienced a range of emotions as he remembered his Nanny's warnings about the sacredness of the body. It was the same for Eva Haenga (nō Ngāti Pōrou) who acknowledges it was smoking cigarettes that attributed to her bilateral lung transplant. She reflects on the journey from illness to post-surgery twelve years after her original diagnosis.

In the past year Māori television presenter Te Hamua Nikora (nō Ngāti Pōrou) has faced a range of health problems that has made him re-evaluate his stance on organ donation.

Waiata featured:

Ka karanga a te tinana from the album, WAI 100% by Wai (2000)