Karakia Poka launch

10 November 2023

At the Aotearoa NZ Anaesthesia ASM in Ōtepoti/Dunedin today we launched a karakia, designed to provide pre-surgery comfort to patients and their families/whānau.

Karakia are prayers or incantations used by Māori to acknowledge and affirm the spiritual world and their ancestors. Māori families frequently use karakia in their day-to-day lives. In the case of upcoming surgery, karakia offers another element of protection to the person undergoing anaesthetic.

New Zealand anaesthetist Dr Arihia Waaka came up with the concept of the karakia and was able to make it a reality through a grant from ANZCA’s Health Equity Projects Fund. The Karakia Poka was written by New Zealand-based tohunga (expert practitioner) Mark Kopua.

Dr Waaka said she was thrilled with the karakia.

“Karakia is a very prominent part of Māori people’s lives and of my life as well. If I was having surgery, I would be grateful for this sort of tool, and it’s just another way to help whanau be involved in the healing of their family. When I first read it, it bought tears to my eyes, I literally got goosebumps. These composers do amazing work, every single word is very well thought out. We call them kura huna, little treasures within the writing – you can often take one word and write a whole story just about that one word.”

Anyone is welcome to use the karakia, and we would encourage all hospitals and anaesthesia departments in Aotearoa/New Zealand and beyond caring for Māori patients (in particular) to:

Last updated 09:46 10.11.2023