How Karanga Health Centre Was Named

At the time the health centre was almost ready to open, Tessa was suddenly rendered immobile by muscle spasm in her lower back. Attempts to change this failed until a Maori healer came to visit and used her special powers. She asked Tessa if there was a question she was struggling to answer and Tessa replied that she didn’t know what to call the new health centre. The healer asked her ancestors for advice and they gave the name “Karanga”. Tessa felt honoured by this name but also inadequate and concerned that she might be considered pretentious or disrespectful.


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The term karanga refers to the exchange of calls that occur between Maori women when visitors are welcomed to a marae. It pays tribute to the departed and introduces the reason for the visit. The healer said that Tessa was calling people to come for their health and that it seemed appropriate.

The healing was successful but Tessa remained in awe of the name until a week or so later when she was at the wedding of a friend and the guest next to her whispered that the ceremony was like a karanga. Oooo there’s that word again!

Tessa decided with the help of a few wedding guests that it would be disrespectful NOT to use the name. So here we are.