Physical Environment


Healthy Lifestyles


Cultural Identity

“This is more than just a marae and an ātea, it is a nurturing place. It's a place to be communal with each other. It's one of healing, of social engagement and whakawhanaungatanga. It’s a place to be one with each other.”


Kaihautu/Māori Academic Advisor

You can read this page in te reo Māori


Te Whare Tapa Whā is a Māori health model developed by leading Māori health advocate Sir Mason Durie in 1984. Te Whare Tapa Whā shows us our wellbeing in four dimensions, and while it provides a Māori perspective on health, there is something in it for everyone, no matter who you are or where you are from. 

Te Whare Tapa Whā describes wellbeing as a wharenui or meeting house. The four walls of the wharenui represent the four dimensions of your holistic wellbeing.

Illustrated model of Te Whare Tapa Whā showing a whare (house) and the various whetu

Taha Wairua | Spiritual wellbeing
Taha Hinengaro | Mental and emotional wellbeing
Taha Whānau | Family and social wellbeing
Taha Tinana | Physical wellbeing

When all four walls of your wharenui, or all four dimensions of your wellbeing, are in balance, you thrive! When one or more of the walls are out of balance, your wellbeing as a whole might be impacted. 

There will be different times in your life or along your learning journey when certain areas of your wellbeing may need more attention than others, and that’s okay! Take time to check in along the way. Remember, it is not up to you alone to keep your whare in balance, so go easy on yourself and bring in support when you need it! 

You will often find when you do something to work on one area of your wellbeing in Te Whare Tapa Whā you will contribute to other areas at the same time. As you put the model into practice, you will see how each dimension is interconnected with each other, and how this is truly a holistic model of health.

Taha Wairua | Spiritual wellbeing

This dimension of your wellbeing explores your spiritual health. This can mean your connection to your heritage, your environment, your beliefs, values and traditions. It's important to stay connected to the things that bring you closer to your source of spiritual health. 


Taha Wairua Joe

“Culture plays a big role in my wellbeing. It’s what I have when there’s nothing else there for me, it’s what I turn to, what I know best.”


Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts

Ideas to support your taha wairua:

Spend time outside

Spend time outside whenever you can. If you live near water, the bush or even have a large tree somewhere nearby, find a moment to explore – or even just to sit and rest.

Reconnect to your language and cultural customs

Reconnect to your language and cultural customs. It uplifts your spiritual health – whether you are new to learning about your culture or you have many experiences to draw from. Every effort is meaningful and will have a positive impact on your overall health! 

Spend some time helping others

It doesn’t have to be formal volunteering, it could be as simple as lending a hand to someone else, sharing kai with a neighbour or even simply complimenting a friend. Helping someone else without any expectation of receiving something in return is great for your taha wairua. 


Journaling can be a great way to connect to your taha wairua. Spending some time writing or recording your reflections on your day, week or even your life can be really valuable. An easy way to start is by writing down three things you are grateful for each morning or night. 

Learning or reciting karakia

Learning or reciting karakia allows you to be intentional with your time and how you are engaging with your environment or the activities you are taking part in. 

Visiting your marae, place of cultural significance or church

Visiting your marae, place of cultural significance or church, or spending time with others who share similar beliefs and values to you can also support your taha wairua if this is meaningful to you.

Taha Hinengaro | Mental and emotional wellbeing

Taha hinengaro includes the wellbeing of your mind, heart, consciousness, thoughts and feelings. It is about finding a connection to these different parts of you and understanding how they affect the rest of your life and wellbeing. 

Victoria stands at her workplace in front of a colourful mural painted onto a water tank, smiling into the distance.

“If it's starting to get a bit much for you, then put the books down, step away from mahi and go out and do something just for you. When you do come back, everything’s clear.”


Certificate in Health and Wellbeing

Ideas to support your taha hinengaro:

Find someone else to talk to

This can help ease some mental or emotional challenges you may be facing. This could be a friend, someone at your place of work or learning – or even seeing a counsellor or therapist.


Mindfulness is a practice many people enjoy that supports their mental health. It is the practice of being in the present moment, from something as simple as focusing on your breath, to using a more structured or guided approach. 

Take notice

Take notice of the things in your life that make you feel good – it might be people, time spent in nature, a favourite band or show, pets, exercise, a delicious meal, a great game or something else – and take a moment to feel gratitude for those things. Do you have opportunities to build more moments like this into your days and weeks? If so, do it! These little moments of happiness and contentment are great for your taha hinengaro. 

Have a ‘beginner’s mindset’

This mindset means you go into learning without any expectations or assumptions about yourself or what is ahead of you – this can remove some of the pressure you can sometimes put on yourself, it can also support you to be a bit more open–minded and you may make new connections or learn something you may otherwise have not! 

Get help when you need it

Most of us will go through periods where our mental health is low and we need extra support. If your taha hinengaro is shaky and you’re struggling, don’t ignore it. Check in with the support services available to you, talk to your health provider, chat with whānau or friends, call a helpline if you need to.

Taha Whānau | Family and social wellbeing

This wall of your wharenui represents your family/whānau. This includes relationships within your whānau, your extended whānau, wider social circles, friends, hapū, iwi and even your community. It's important to remember relationships change as you move through life, and you will create new connections along the way too – thinking about the quality of your relationships is more important than the quantity, particularly for your wellbeing.

A woman is in conversation with another person

“My personal values are manaakitanga – so caring and supporting others – but also relaying that into my own whānau.”


Certificate in Whānau Ora

Ideas to support your taha whānau:

Spend time with whānau

Spend time with whānau doing things you enjoy doing together – small moments like sharing breakfast together or big moments like celebrating milestones – they all contribute to having meaningful connections with each other. 

Reach out to a friend

Reach out to a friend, send a message or pop over for a visit! Although we all get busy with study, work and life – showing our love to those in our life brings not only joy to them, but also to you. 

Have a ‘check in’ with your household

Have a ‘check in’ with your household, whether it is flatmates, your partner, your tamariki or other whānau. Taking time to intentionally spend with each other brings so much value to your relationships.

 Ezra stands in a brightly-lit, sunny hall on campus, smiling openly.

“Other people will believe in you and be with you throughout, whether they come into your life at that time to study or they’ve been there forever. You’ll find people who believe in you and your study.”


Bachelor of Nursing

Taha Tinana | Physical wellbeing

This dimension is centred on your physical health. This extends to how your body feels, how you look after it, how you move it and how you fuel it. While this will look different for everybody, depending on your culture, your access to resources or your physical abilities – what remains the same is that our physical health is connected to all of the other dimensions – so paying attention to the other areas of your wellbeing will have a positive impact on your physical health too!  

Joe stands outside a marae, looking into the distance.

“One way that I look after my tinana is being active and going for walks. I like to make my exercise meaningful. I might go for a walk to a waterfall, knowing the history of the waterfall.”


Counsellor Māori

Ideas to support your taha tinana:

Move, everyday

Move, everyday, in whatever way works for you. As little or as much as you can. Movement is great for our mental health, supports our focus when learning and keeps our tinana energised and healthy! 

Move your study space

Move your study space. It can have a positive impact on your physical health – having your computer or laptop on a higher surface to try a standing desk, or even moving it to a place where you’re getting more natural light and can see nature out your window will have surprising benefits to your physical health. 

Do your best to get enough sleep

Do your best to get enough sleep every night. A good night’s sleep is great for your physical (and mental!) wellbeing, but many people struggle with it. Try not to stay on your phone late at night, go to bed at the same time if you can, do your best to create a quiet, dark and comfortable sleeping space and do some research into better sleeping habits – it really will make a difference. 

Fuel your body well

Fuel your body well – this isn’t an easy one for many of us for a lot of reasons including stress, money and time pressures. Making small choices to help fuel your body with what makes it feel good will make a big difference - drink more water and less caffeine and alcohol, try to get more fruit and veggies into your day (frozen are just as good as fresh!) and have a think about whether there are habits or behaviours you are holding onto that you may want to start easing back on or asking for help to change. 

Check in with how your body is feeling

Check in with how your body is feeling. Pay attention to signs you need to call in your support team to keep your taha tinana strong, and when you need help, reach out to friends, whānau, your GP, nurse, Māori health provider or Healthline here.

joe1 1

“I like to go hard at the gym. It makes me happy, gives me a sense of accomplishment. That’s one of the main ways I look after my wellbeing, but you’ve gotta find something that makes you smile. Do what makes you happy.”


Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts