Explore your taha wairua (spiritual wellbeing)

One in five Kiwis experiences a mental illness each year. Almost all of these people will recover or live well with the right tautoko (support).

Te Whare Tapa Whā is a model of health that helps us identify where we need extra support. It describes health 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)
  • taha whānau (family and social wellbeing)

Connection with the whenua (land) forms the foundation. When all four walls and the foundation are strong, we feel strong too, including our top two inches (our mental wellbeing).

What is taha wairua?

Taha wairua explores your relationship with the environment, people and heritage in the past, present and future. Your spiritual essence is your life force – your mauri. This is who and what you are, where you have come from and where you are going.

The way people view wairua can be very different. For some, wairua is the capacity for faith or religious beliefs or having a belief in a higher power. Others may describe wairua as an internal connection to the universe. There is no right or wrong way to think of or experience wairua, but it is an important part of our mental wellbeing.

As part of exploring your way to wellbeing we encourage you to think about what wairua means to you and the things you can do to strengthen your wairua.

Why is taha wairua an important way to wellbeing at mahi (work)?

Feeling comfortable in your identity, values and beliefs will help you to feel secure in who you are and what you stand for. When you are content with yourself you are better able to cope with challenges, build strong whānau relationships and discover the things that uplift you.

At mahi, taha wairua needs may be supported through creating a respectful environment where mindfulness and kindess are encouraged, bullying is not accepted and diversity is embraced.

Exploring your way to wellbeing through taha wairua

  • Display your workplace values – the actions, attitudes and beliefs that your workplace upholds. If you don’t currently have them, ask your hoamahi for input and create some you all agree to share.
  • Learn a workplace waiata (song) that represents the values of your mahi. Sing it at the start of staff hui.
  • Learn a karakia (prayer) that you can say to start or end your day or ground and centre yourself during times of stress.
  • Consider finding a mentor – someone you admire who can support, guide and encourage you through challenges and triumphs at mahi.

Take some time to reflect on what taha wairua means to you. If you tried out any of the activities above, what specifically made you feel good and what didn’t? If any of the activities helped to boost your mental health and wellbeing why not find ways to include them regularly in your week.

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Source: Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand is a charity that works towards creating a society free from discrimination, where all people enjoy positive mental health and wellbeing.

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