Maori Health – Te Taha Wairua, Te Taha Hinengaro, Te Taha Whanau, Te Taha Tinana.
The Maori concept of health is much wider than that of the physical wellbeing; it embraces other dimensions of a person’s existence. The Maori model, Whare Tapa Wha, has an integrated view of health based on four cornerstones, which equally represent the four walls of a house, symbolic of structure and support for Maori health:
Te Taha Wairua (The Spiritual Dimension)
Is unique to every individual. It is that life force that determines who you are, reflecting where you have come from and provides guidance to the future influenced by ones ancestors. Maori people in everyday life acknowledge and respect the presence of ancestors by the observance of certain practices and procedures.
Te Taha Hinengaro (The Mental Dimension)
This is the mental and emotional dimension of a person. Maori people believe that the mind cannot be separated from either body or the soul.
Te Taha Whanau (The Family Dimension)
This recognises the importance of the function and role of the family, in providing sustenance, support and an environment conductive to good health.
Te Taha Tinana (The Physical Dimension)
This is the physical or bodily aspect of a person. Maori believe that the mind, body and soul are all closely inter-related and influence one physical state of well-being. Physical health cannot be dealt with in isolation nor can the individual person be seen as separate from ones family.
These four dimension of health cannot be separated, but instead are inter-related to form an integrated whole.
Base Elements of Kaupapa Maori in Health Services
All principles carry holistic underlying themes of spirituality, collectivity, identity, and history.
- Awareness of the importance of whakapapa – Maori peoples knowledge of their past present and future and how these link Maori people and their world.
- Te Reo – the relevance of language and its important tie with identity.
- Tikanga Maori – Operating interventions inside the Maori cultural system.
- Rangitiratanga – Autonomy and the significance of control over their life and cultural wellbeing.
- Empowerment of tangata whai ora and their whanau – empowering outcomes for the individual and their family to assist in their overall health.
- Whanaungatanga – the importance and integration of inter-relationships for Maori, as well as individual health elements.
Family Doctors recognises the need to initiate measures which reduce barriers to health care for Maori, including financial, cultural and access issues. We take full advantage of Procare funded programmes which can benefit Maori.
The Treaty of Waitangi
This agreement is the basis for the on-going relationship between the Crown and the tangata whenua of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Its principles (Partnership, Participation and Protection) are entrenched in Government health policy and apply to all health and disability services whether offered in the public or the private system. Putting aside matters of interpretation, the clear intentions of the Treaty were:
- To protect Maori as much as possible from the ill-effects of colonisation
- To guard their economic base, dignity and culture, and
- To extend to them the full rights of British subjects. (See Health Promotion
Forum of NZ)
The Crown’s failure to consistently honour the Treaty has had a devastating effect on Maori economic development and health.
Family Doctors is committed to a historical understanding of the Treaty and of its current implications for the Crown, its agents and health providers in general.
The history and philosophy of Family Doctors
Our practice was established in 1983 by Dr John Allen and now has a registered patient population of over 5000. It has a distinctive Christian character and an established place in the community. The staff include a number born overseas and all of the doctors have undergone training relating to Maori culture, the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori health issues. Clinical staff have recently completed CALD (culturally and linguinstically diverse) training. Maori constitute 6.1% of our patient population and we have all had experience of dealing with Maori culture as it relates to birth, death, health, family commitments and traditional culture.
We have explicitly incorporated Maori concepts of health into our philosophy and our logo.
Family Doctors acknowledges the richness of Maori culture and language, as well as the challenges facing Maori people today. We wish to learn from our Maori patients and work with them to achieve the best possible health outcomes.
Since 1989, Te Herenga Waka o Orewa has focused on supporting the local community on the Hibiscus Coast with their physical, social and cultural needs. To learn more about our local marae, visit http://www.teherengawakaoorewa.co.nz/