Working and Coaching in and around Healthcare in New Zealand

There are some excellent models and practices that are worth finding out about if you are considering working or coaching in and around healthcare

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Working and Coaching in and around Healthcare in New Zealand

Whether you are looking to work in health care or coach in health and wellbeing, there are some excellent models and practices that it is worth finding out more about.

The Maori models presuppose a natural link between mind, spirit, human body, family and the environment and as such offer a different view of health and wellbeing than many other models.

I will share with you just 3 key models from the Ministry of Health website to give you a flavour and encourage you to find out more.


1. Te Whare Tapa Whā

The Maori model of health developed by Mason Durie and adopted in New Zealand is built around the Maori meeting house (the wharenui).  A strong foundation and four strong equal sides represent the different pillars of health – all of which are equally important:

  • Taha tinana (physical health)
  • Taha wairua (spiritual health)
  • Taha whānau (family health)
  • Taha hinengaro (mental health)

You can read more here (

The model purports that if any one of the aspects is missing, or weak, or damaged, health and wellbeing can be impacted.  Working in New Zealand is an opportunity to work with an integrated, whole body approach to health and wellbeing, which is supported by many of the new health and wellbeing coaching modalities such as NLP, mBraining, Heartmath, Havening, somatic and embodied coaching, spirituality in coaching (to name a few).

2. Te Wheke

Te Wheke, or the octopus model, developed by Rose Pere, is all about 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.”

The individual components are:

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

This opens up a much wider opportunity for coaching around health and sits beautifully with mBraining, above and beyond NLP, for a more whole body and holistic approach.

3 Te Pae Mahutonga

Mason Durie developed this model around the Southern Cross Star Constellation.

The four central stars of the Southern Cross represent four key tasks of health promotion:

  • Mauriora (cultural identity)
  • Waiora (physical environment)
  • Toiora (healthy lifestyles)
  • Te Oranga (participation in society)

There are two pointers, which represent Ngā Manukura (community leadership) and Te Mana Whakahaere (autonomy)”.

Discovering more about, and embracing, the indigenous health models offers beautiful insight into health and wellbeing that I believe it would be beneficial to consider well beyond New Zealand waters.

Suzanne Henwood
Suzanne Henwood (member article)

mBIT Master Coach and Trainer with a passion for healthy workplaces