SPARKLERS / Identity and culture

Fill My… Whare Tapa Whā

Use the Whare Tapa Whā hauora model to check in with your collective tamariki wellbeing.
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Why we love it

This activity explores all aspects of our health and wellbeing, and uses Te Whare Tapa Whā model as a way to kōrero about the different areas that contribute to our hinengaro (mental health) and the way we feel.

What to do

Step 1: Create your Whare

To quickly create a Whare for the wall of your classroom, print the Whare Tapa Whā sheets on A3 card. Cut along the centre lines, then tape the back of them together or glue them to a piece of A2 card for extra stability. To make your Whare bright and unique, you may also like to award a few tamariki the very special task of colouring it in.

Step 2: Kōrero about wellbeing and your Whare

The most important thing for tamariki to understand is that many things contribute to our wellbeing. What is ‘wellbeing’? We like the World Health Foundation definition – Feeling Good and Functioning Well. When we ‘check in’ with ourselves and others, we can ask: Am I feeling okay and able to do the things I need to? If the answer is ‘yes’, our wellbeing is pai!

Now onto our Whare! We love this Mental Health Foundation Worksheet and you may like to use it to guide your kōrero – or as an extension activity.

Our whare shows all the areas that contribute to our wellbeing, including our:

  • Taha tinana – physical health.
  • Taha whānau – family and social health.
  • Taha wairua – spiritual health, e.g. our “beliefs, values, traditions, and practices, that support self-awareness & identity” (Mental Health Foundation).
  • Taha hinengaro – mental and emotional health. To open up this kōrero, we like this video. The important things to know are that we all have mental health (just like we all have physical health) and there are easy things we can do to look after it e.g. being with friends, being active, being kind, learning new things, and having people to talk to and laugh with.
  • Whenua – our connection to the land, our place and our roots.

In the Whare Tapa Whā model, these areas form the foundations and walls of the whare. If we’re caring for each area, our whare is strong and we’re likely to have great wellbeing. If we’re not feeling our best, we can look at these areas and see which ones we can strengthen.

Step 3: Start using your whare!

Give each student a post-it note (or square of paper and some blue tack) and ask them to write down one thing they’ve done recently to feel good or strengthen their whare. Ask them to think about the area of the whare it relates to the most (it may relate to more than one) and to stick their post-it on your class whare, near that area (inside or outside the whare is okay). Add one yourself too!

Congratulate tamariki for doing these things to look after their wellbeing. Ask if any areas seem stronger than others based on this first round. Say you’ll be repeating this activity each day over the next few weeks – and that you’d like them to try to add one for a different area, each day. We’d suggest removing the post-its every few days, so the whare remains visible.

What next?

Keep the kōrero up around wellbeing by returning to this exercise and asking tamariki questions about the different areas. Encourage tamariki to kōrero about this with their whānau – so they can find out how their loved ones are doing and help make sure they’re doing things to feel good too.

Check in with tamariki using the Emotional Rollercoaster and when they’re feeling ‘blah’ refer to your Whare Tapa Whā model to think about what may help.

If you’re enjoying traditional Māori activities, head here to find more!

Ngā mihi nui...

Warmest thanks to Haeata Community Campus for suggesting this activity. We so appreciate your mahi and all it brings to Sparklers. Many times, ngā mihi.

We'd also like to acknowledge the amazing work of Professor Sir Mason Durie, who was instrumental in the development of Te Whare Tapa Whā model of Māori health and wellbeing..

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