Story: Rongoā – medicinal use of plants



This artwork was done by Hinerangitoariari (Winifred Margaret Belcher, née Foley) from Te Arawa tribe Ngāti Uenukukōpako. It depicts the god Whiro – a personified form of sickness, disease and death. Māori believed that sickness and disease often had spiritual roots. The woman between Whiro’s legs is the goddess of death, Hinenui-te-pō, described by the artist as the ‘mother of mortality’.

Courtesy of Winifred Belcher.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Acrylic on board by Hinerangitoariari (Winifred Belcher nee Foley)

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Rhys Jones, 'Rongoā – medicinal use of plants - Understanding rongoā', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 July 2024)

Story by Rhys Jones, published 24 Sep 2007