Website editor’s note: Please read on below for the inspiring story of a woman who refused to let a bad prognosis cancer be a death sentence and has made a film about her return to health using natural medicine, including Rongoa Maori,
To learn more (including dates and venues for film screenings) please see this Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/TheFourSides/
From Hokianga to Wellington: Woman beating Cancer to present at the Beehive.
In October 2015 Hokianga woman Tanya Filia (Nga Puhi, Ngai Tahu) was told by her oncologist that she had two months to live. Her brain tumour first discovered in 2013 had returned along with wide-spread brain cancer, and doctors had exhausted their options. Although Tanya (45), a primary school principal at Kohukohu School, was offered palliative chemotherapy or hospice, she turned to Rongoa Maori instead. Tanya says, “All I could think was that I wasn’t ready to lie down and die- I have four daughters to think of. So my whanau and I turned back to what we know- Rongoa Maori.”
Tanya sought help from local traditional healers and Dr. Wojcik at the Environmental Health Clinic in Whangarei. She had mirimiri, a form of massage that includes guided meditation, and radically changed her diet by eliminating processed foods and all sugars. She began a regime of intravenous Vitamin C along with blends of native plants, kawakawa leaf baths, and prayed often. Tanya says that “Rongoa Maori differs from Western medicine, in that it is a holistic approach that focusses on our well-being. This includes our emotional and spiritual well-being as well as our physical health and whanau relationships.”
Tanya states that the cost of natural therapies means many people are not able to access the treatment that is helping her. “People are mortgaging their homes so they can have treatments that give them quality of life. It just shouldn’t be so hard, so stressful, when you’re battling this disease anyway”. She says that while she is grateful she had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation and is not saying that people shouldn’t have these treatments, she believes people should have choices, especially when Western medicine is no longer able to offer anything more. “It’s about choices, and quality of life”. Over two and a half years since Tanya was told she was dying, she continues to live well at her home overlooking the Hokianga Harbour. In fact, Tanya feels so well that she is now campaigning to make things easier for others who have been terminally diagnosed.
With friend and film-maker Jessie McVeagh, Tanya has produced He Oranga Pumau, a documentary about her healing journey. Their documentary has sparked a campaign for the rights for people to choose their medical treatment and to gain better support for those diagnosed with serious or terminal illness. Tanya and Jessie are touring the North with their film, and are about to head south, culminating in a screening at parliament on June the 20th this year. They hope Tanya’s story will lead to people having choices in their treatment, and better support when they are diagnosed with terminal and serious illness. Tanya states that “Rongoa is a taonga, and as such is guaranteed to us in Article Two of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. People should also be allowed to work through illness in a way that empowers them. We are calling for funding to be made available for rongoa, natural therapies including vitamin C”.
While Tanya is preparing for their trip to present at the Beehive she says “So many people, not just Maori, have told me they want choices in their treatment. My experience with WINZ has been awful, it just shouldn’t be so hard to access support. Our hope is that the government will listen to my story and make changes around treatment options and financial support that will be better for all New Zealanders.”
For more information please see: https://www.facebook.com/TheFourSides/
In the image above, Tanya is taking a Kawakawa bath.
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The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine frequently features information about a variety of cancer therapies. We also have information about some treatment options available on our website..
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