How Do You Define Health?

Understanding that health is a multifaceted term helps with rejecting the oversimplified interpretations of health in our culture.

Health isn’t binary - it’s not something we have or don’t have, something we do or don’t do, and definitely not something we achieve or fail.

Health is a collage of intersecting dimensions of health.

Te Whare Tapa Whā is a holistic Māori health model developed by Sir Mason Durie (and a favourite of Āhei).

It has four dimensions, which are as follows:

Taha tinana - physical health
Taha hinengaro - mental health
Taha wairua - spiritual health
Taha whānau - family and social health


Taha tinana, our physical health, is one of the most obvious facets of our health - but it’s often overemphasised.
Taha hinengaro acknowledges the importance of our mental health and expressing our thoughts and feelings.
Taha wairua can mean different things for all of us - faith, spirituality, meditation, unseen energies or even simply a connection to nature.
Taha whānau is about belonging, sharing, caring and feeling connected to people.

Our health is made up by these dimensions along with an endless number of choices and experiences that we navigate differently day-to-day.

When you’re next thinking about your health (or more likely worrying about your weight), are you making sure that you’re looking at it through each of these dimensions?

Sarskia Melville