‘Essences are extracted from nature. The eyes are windows into the essence of being human’  (Ruha Fifita)

Tulu’i as a concept describes the administering of medicine by squeezing the plant constituents of the medicine and dripping the resulting liquid. But what does the tulu’i actually do to a person in the context of the healing session?

Emeline Lolohea and Dr Mapa Puloka are both committed to re-directing the attention of the people they heal or broadcast to. They both use Christian ideas and quotes to accompany the process of healing.

To understand and appreciate the tulu’i also requires some critical self reflection to become culturally sensitive to the value and meanings associated with it. When I screened Filomena’s healing in the UK to students, the tulu’i was always the part they found difficult to watch, or felt as an intrusion on Filomena’s being.

By being reflexive of what we find challenging of the tulu’i  we will also gain insight into the value of Dr Puloka’s broadcast in Tongan terms.

The following are some possible questions to appreciation of the tulu’i:

  1. How do people describe the impact of the tulu’i on their health and being?
  2. What is required of the patient in the process of moving attention from a spirit to valued social relationships?
  3. Are there any pharmacological benefits of administering through the eyes?
  4. Are there any other historical or cultural uses similar to tulu’i, that through comparison help us to understand the transformational processes?
  5. What are other Tongan ideas associated with the eyes?
  6. How do healers use the tulu’i differently in Vava’u. This chapter gives some sense of difference.

Please share below your thoughts and experiences and talanoa on our dedicated facebook group.