Te Whare Tapa Whā is a kaupapa Māori model that offers a holistic and inter-connected understanding to hauora health. 

Developed in the 1980s by Tā Mason Durie, Tā Mason has been at the forefront of transforming Māori health for over four decades.

Tā Mason Durie

What is Te Whare Tapa Whā?

Te Whare Tapa Whā uses a wharenui meeting house as a metaphor to represent the hauora of a person. It is built of and relies on four parts (or dimensions), which sit upon the whenua land, the foundations of the wharenui.

To ensure the 'wharenui' is strong and healthy, the four parts are considered together, in a balanced way, with how each contributes and impacts a person’s overall health:

  • Hinengaro - mental wellbeing, the capacity to communicate, to think, and to feel, (the mind and body are inseparable)
  • Tinana - physical health, the capacity for growth and development
  • Wairua - spiritual connectedness, the capacity for faith and enlightenment
  • Whānau – authentic relationships, the capacity to belong, care and share, where individuals are part a family, iwi, group or wider social systems.


This video series begins with Tā Mason Durie giving an explanation of Te Whare Tapa Whā:

Te Taha Hinengaro

Just like your physical health, your hinengaro, your mind, heart, conscience, thoughts, and feelings, need 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.

Te Taha Tinana

Tinana is about how your body feels and how you care for it, things like eating healthy kai, physical care like going for a walk, and having reaonable moe sleeps. These things will also help 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.

Te Taha Wairua

When we take notice, and appreciate the beauty around us, or if we discover or rediscover things that make us feel awe, hope, courage, unity and connection, all this can nourish our wairua. For some, wairua is faith or connecting with a higher power. It’s important to think about what our wairua means to us, and ways to strengthen it. When your wairua is strong, it’s easier to feel good, cope with challenges and build strong whānau relationships.

Te Taha Whānau

Whānau are the people we care about, and who care about us. They love and support us and make us feel that we belong. In this model, whānau doesn’t need to be immediate relatives, but can be anyone we know, who are close to our hearts, like friends, colleagues, groups, iwi and community.


Whenua is the connection to the land and taiao, the enviroment. For tangata whenua, it’s the earth through which you are connected to your tūpuna ancestors. It offers a place of belonging and it is comforting that it is never too far away.


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