Māori health models – Te Wheke

Traditional Māori health acknowledges the link between the mind, the spirit, the human connection with whānau, and the physical world in a way that is seamless and uncontrived. Until the introduction of Western medicine there was no division between them.

Te Wheke image.

The concept of Te Wheke, the octopus, is to define family health. The head of the octopus represents te whānau, the eyes of the octopus as waiora (total wellbeing for the individual and family) and each of the eight tentacles representing a specific dimension of health. The dimensions are interwoven and this represents the close relationship of the tentacles.

Te whānau – the family
Waiora – total wellbeing for the individual and family
Wairuatanga – spirituality
Hinengaro – the mind
Taha tinana – physical wellbeing
Whanaungatanga - extended family
Mauri – life force in people and objects
Mana ake – unique identity of individuals and family
Hā a koro ma, a kui ma – breath of life from forbearers
Whatumanawa – the open and healthy expression of emotion

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