There are many ways of looking at wellbeing. Some people have their own personally defined model that makes up their health, while others utilise models stemming from their own culture or upbringing – for example, the Fonofale model.
For Mental Health Awareness Week, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand has built a framework around Te Whare Tapa Whā - a Māori model designed by Sir Mason Durie. But how does it work, and differ from other models?
A wharenui for your health and wellbeing
Te Whare Tapa Whā envisages wellbeing as a wharenui, or home. It has four key elements:
Taha tinana, or physical health
Taha wairua, or spiritual health
Taha whānau, or family health
Taha hinengaro, or mental health
Each part of the wharenui is given equal weighting – should any of the above four elements be impaired or missing, overall wellbeing will be negatively impacted.
This has much in common with Fonofale, particularly the positioning of wellbeing as a home comprising multiple elements beyond the physical and mental cornerstones that, for many, are the primary indicators of wellbeing.
But by incorporating taha whānau and taha wairua, Te Whare Tapa Whā takes a Māori-specific approach to wellbeing that can help both individuals and practitioners identify and address core challenges or successes in the realm of hauora / health.