Te Whare Tapa Whā

Te Whare Tapa Whā is a well known Maori model of health that has been used across a variety of sectors (i.e health, education and justice) It compares health to the four walls of a house where  all four walls are necessary to ensure strength and symmetry.  This blog explores how this model can help every shiftworker live a little better. 

Te whare tapa whā  was developed by Sir Mason Durie in 1984 to provide a Māori perspective on health. The 4 dimensions are:

Taha tinana – Physical health  
Taha tinana is your physical wellbeing. It is about how your body feels, moves, and how you care for it. Nourishing and strengthening your physical wellbeing helps you to cope with the ups and downs and life.

Some key taha tinana elemnts for shiftworkers to take care of are physical activity, healthy eating and good sleep.

If you’re having trouble with your sleep, our sleep tips can help you get the shut-eye you need and if you’re a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do to help your taha tinana.


Spiritual health – taha wairua
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. For others, wairua is an internal connection to the universe or the sacred. There is no right or wrong way to think of or experience wairua, but it is an important part of your mental wellbeing.

Explore your way to taha wairua with these ideas from the Mental Health Foundation.


Family health – Taha whānau

Taha whānau is about who makes you feel like you belong, who you care about and who you share your life with.

Whānau is about extended relationships – it’s not just your immediate relatives, it’s your friends, hoamahi (colleagues), community and the people you care about. Everyone has a place and a role to fulfill within their whānau, and whānau contributes to your individual wellbeing and identity.

Think of ways to increase the time you spend with whānau.


Mental health – Taha hinengaro 
Taha hinengaro is about your thoughts and feelings.

Taking care of taha hinengaro is important for everyone. When taha hinengaro is strong, you can better cope with life’s challenges. You can express your feelings and reach out for support from friends, whānau and hoamahi (colleagues) if you need to.

For more information about managing shiftwork contact fiona@shiftwork.co.nz.