Broken bones are visible. Broken people are not.

That's the philosophy behind an alternative health expo being held in Levin next weekend called Te Hauora Tangata Ki Horowhenua.

Levin woman Renee MacDonald is driving the alternative health expo which aimed at showcasing holistic healers and alternative health practitioners that are available within the community, with the help of a collective called Rarangawhenua.

McDonald started the expo last year, born from the realisation that when it comes to hauora (wellbeing), sometimes not one size fits all.


She said it's obvious when someone has a broken arm, but different forms of mental illness, like trauma, can often be invisible.

Sometimes it takes more than medication to "fix" what is going on.

"It's not about fixing broken arms. Sometimes you are fixing broken people," she said.

The 42-year-old said through her own past experiences with methamphetamine addiction she was aware of the pain that people go through as they search for health and wellbeing.

It was through her own journey of healing that she became aware of holistic pathways and the different practitioners that existed outside mainstream medicine.

And the mere fact that someone has stepped out to look and search for help themselves is a powerful step in their healing journey, she said.

It might be that someone who actively tries a holistic therapy or medicine has already made a step in the right direction, whether it has the desired outcome or not, and it was a step towards empowerment.

"It's about accountability for your own health and not thinking that the doctor is going to give me a quick fix," she said.

"A lot of people don't use it, but it's about giving people an option, to find something that might work for them. What might work for one person might not work for another.


"Especially people going through trauma. They might be given a number, then given a number to ring, and a number to ring ...

"It's about creating a space for people to take control of what's happening to them."

MacDonald said she thought the current health system and our approach to mental health in general is to go to the doctor for a pill that will make everything better.

She said there was room for alternative therapies to exist alongside mainstream medicine.

"It's about making people aware of alternative pathways and holistic pathways ... there needs to be a light shone on these people that are doing some amazing stuff," she said.

"There are practitioners in our community that can support you, whether it be reiki or massage and when you are in these spaces you connect more."


And so was born the idea for an expo, and it made sense to coincide the expo with New Zealand Mental Health Week, to give alternative practitioners a chance to show their wares.

"People can be harsh and quick to judge. It's about providing people with options to support their mental health and through triggers so that it doesn't end in depression, drug use, or even suicide," she said.

MacDonald said it was turning a blind-eye to think that there wasn't high incidents of mental health issues and addiction within the Horowhenua community.

Her own journey to wellbeing led her to discover kombucha, an tasty health drink that she now markets under the banner Soul Sisters Kombucha.

Meanwhile, there would be bands and artists playing live music throughout the day, free workshops, treatments, demonstrations and products available, and a free sausage sizzle.

Te Hauora Tangata Ki Horowhenua, the Horowhenua Holistic and Wellbeing Expo, would be held at Te Whare Mahana Community Hub, Bristol St, Levin, on Saturday, September 26, between 9am and 3pm.