Explore your taha whānau (family and social 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 whānau?

Taha whānau is about who makes you feel you belong, who you care about and who you share your life with. Whānau is about extended relationships – not just immediate relatives. It’s your hoamahi (colleagues), friends, community, and the people you care about. You have a unique place and a role to fulfil with your whānau and your whānau contributes to your wellbeing and identity.

Why is taha whānau an important way to wellbeing?

Spending time with whānau, doing things for them and getting involved gives you a feeling of purpose, connection and wellbeing. As a core source of strength, support, security and identity, whānau plays a central role in your wellbeing.

Exploring your way to wellbeing through taha whānau

  • Connect your work whānau and non-work whānau together by having a whānau day! Hold a BBQ or picnic at your mahi and invite your hoamahi to bring the people who are important to them too.
  • Brainstorm what whānau means to your workplace. How can you create a workplace environment with whānau values?
  • Get to know your neighbours – invite people from nearby workplaces to share a morning tea with your hoamahi.
  • Encourage hoamahi to bring in photos of the people who are important to them and decorate their workspace.
  • Strengthen connections between work whānau by holding a monthly shared lunch – get people to bring in their favourite kai.
  • Have a hoamahi going through a tough time? Rally together to prepare meals or offer any other tautoko (support) needed.
  • Organise lunchtime workshops – invite people to share their knowledge and passion about things that may or may not be related to your mahi!

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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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