The Medicine Man of Rarotonga

Gear: Nikon D7100 camera, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens. Settings: Exposure 1/125 sec; f2.8; ISO 800.

I am a guru of nature, and proud of it,”” – Pa, Medicine Man

Head into the thick jungle on Rarotonga and don’t be alarmed if you happen bump into this man wondering around.

Pa – a self-proclaimed guru of nature is a barefoot, bear-chested, dread-locked man, dressed in tea leaves for clothes. He will probably also have a large machete in his hand, used for cutting his way through the unruly inter-twining branches.

Gear: Nikon D7100 camera, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens. Settings: Exposure 1/125 sec; f2.8; ISO 800.

Since 1985, Pa has conducted high-energy eco tourism treks into the jungle such as the challenging cross-island trek and the more relaxed nature walk which is suitable for all. He is 70+ but could out-walk many of us.

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a few days documenting his nature walk and his unique sense of living.

His stories are plentiful and part of the experience. He talks about his past life, his passions and helping others through his medical knowledge. He has set up a small clinic at his local home to help patients from around the world, searching for alternative medical help – something he does for free. He has cured dozens of cancers and diseases through herbs found on the island, when the local and international doctors couldn’t help. As we walk, he points out uses of herbs and picks fruit for us to eat.

Pa lives a simple life, centered around all things natural. He is a herbalist, botanist and traditional healer and he makes you feel immediately relaxed with his genuine smile the moment that he greets you. Pa sees himself as spiritually connected to the heart of his ancestral home of Rarotonga, his family have been medicine men and women for generations. Ask him anything about the plants on the island and he will be happy to point out their various uses – he has never found a herb he doesn’t know.

Pa is a truly unique character and to meet someone like this, so connected to the land around him was a very special experience.