Te Whare Tapa Whā
Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) 2021 is underpinned by Te Whare Tapa Whā, a model designed by leading Māori health advocate Sir Mason Durie in 1984.
The model describes health and wellbeing as a wharenui/meeting house with four walls. These walls represent taha wairua/spiritual wellbeing, taha hinengaro/mental and emotional wellbeing, taha tinana/physical wellbeing and taha whānau/family and social wellbeing. Our connection with the whenua/land forms the foundation.
When all these things are in balance, we thrive. When one or more of these is out of balance, our wellbeing is impacted.
The parts of the wharenui:
Taha whānau is the people we care about, who recharge us and make us feel we belong. Whānau isn’t just our immediate relatives. It includes our friends, hoamahi/colleagues, iwi or community – the people who are close to our hearts.
Taha wairua is about taking notice and appreciating the beauty around us. It’s about rediscovering things that make us feel awe, hope, strength, unity and connection. For some, wairua is faith or a higher power. Sometimes our wairua isn’t strong and we encourage you to think about what wairua means to you and ways to strengthen it. When your wairua is strong, it’s easier to feel good, cope with challenges and build strong whānau relationships.
Taha tinana is about how your body feels and how you care for it. Refuelling your body helps you to feel mentally well. Sometimes your tinana might not be where you’d like it to be and this might be beyond your control. What’s important is that you do what you can to nurture it.
Taha hinengaro is your mind, heart, conscience, thoughts and feelings. Just like your physical health, your hinengaro needs to be nurtured. Hinengaro is what you do to stimulate and refresh your mind so you can better cope with the ups and downs of life.
Whenua is our connection to the land. It’s soil, plants, animals and people – tangata whenua. It’s the earth through which you are connected to your tūpuna/ancestors. Whenua is a place of belonging and it’s comforting that it is never too far away.