The First Light Store

Plant Profile: No 97 Parataniwha


Elatostema rugosum

I took an early morning walk through ‘the Cascades’, an area of native bush in the Waitakere ranges which has a number of ancient forests and picturesque streams. The land high up on the ranges is very still in the early morning. Intermittent Tui song fills the air, welcoming the rising sun together with Hine Pukohurangi who dances her ancient dance in the light misty rain.

Along the path, beneath a canopy of Kanuka and Rangiora spread the arms of Parataniwha. I had not seen Parataniwha (also known as Native Begonia) in the wild before, my only experience being the small struggling plant in my home garden. It is an attractive groundcover that grows well in damp shady areas in the North Island. The Waitakere ranges seem to be a perfect spot for it. The flowers it produces are minute and appear if you can find them in small clusters near the base of the leaves.

No 97 Parataniwha ushers us into the Shamanic realm. Those who have participated in the medicine woman training have experienced the shear vibrancy of this Shamanic teacher plant. One can hear the ancient call of the Shamanic path, the invitation into the deeper mysteries of nature and nature power. No 97 Parataniwha acts like a bridge to the Spirit realm. It is our guide to finding one’s true power place and accessing our animal allies through journeys of power. No 97 Parataniwha’s lessons involve working on ourselves and working with the world family – working in collaboration with other spirits – being a ‘spirit among other spirits’.

My own journeys with Parataniwha have begun to form a connection to Spirit that is difficult to put into words though is very real. I feel as though the Spirit world has become alive for me, revealing itself bit by bit, more solid and real than I could have ever thought or imagined. It has completely rearranged my perspective of the world. And just when I think I am comfortable with my perspective, Parataniwha invites me to dismantle that world view again… and again.

No 97 Parataniwha gives the practitioner the ‘edge’ with a surety and no nonsense invitation to explore what is beyond, while maintaining one foot firmly in ‘ordinary’ reality. No 97 Parataniwha is your guide to the Spirit realm.

— Carl Hamblyn