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Children skipping with skipping ropes.

What is Hauora?

Hauora icon; a wharenui.

Hauora is a Māori philosophy of health unique to Aotearoa. It comprises:

Taha tinana (the physical dimension)
Physical wellbeing as well as the physical body, its growth, development, and ability to move, and ways of caring for it.

Taha hinengaro (the mental dimension)
Mental and emotional wellbeing including coherent thinking processes, acknowledging and expressing thoughts and feelings, and responding constructively.

Taha whānau (the family dimension)
Social wellbeing exploring family relationships, friendships, and other interpersonal relationships; feelings of belonging, compassion, and caring; and social support.

Taha wairua (the spiritual dimension)
Spiritual wellbeing and the values and beliefs that determine the way people live, the search for meaning and purpose in life, and personal identity and self-awareness. (For some individuals and communities, spiritual wellbeing is linked to a particular religion; for others, it is not.)

Each of these four dimensions of hauora influences and supports the others.

The Whare Tapa Whā model of wellbeing

Dr Mason Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā model compares hauora to the four walls of a whare, each wall representing a different dimension. All four dimensions are necessary for strength and symmetry.

The Fonofale model of wellbeing

The Fonofale model of wellbeing provides a uniquely Pacific perspective on the concept of wellness and health. Like Te Whare Tapa Whā, it is built around the idea of a house, or Samoan fale. The fale represents the wellbeing of an individual and is made of several components.

The floor represents aiga, or family. It encompasses wider whānau as well as other relationships such as marriage, agreement, or partnership. The roof is the culture, beliefs and values, which shelter the family. The four pou represent physical, mental, spiritual, and other aspects of a person. They connect the culture and family to each other. They also complement and interact with each other.

No part of the fale can stand in isolation. Each piece needs the others to make a solid structure.

Surrounding the fale is a boundary or cocoon. It represents aspects that are external to the individual, namely the physical environment, the period in history, an individual’s particular social, economic, political, and legal context.