Cultural Models of Wellbeing
Health and wellness is a cultural concept because culture frames and shapes how we perceive the world and how we understand different experiences.
Culture may be defined as ethnicity, language, religion and spiritual beliefs, gender, socio-economic class, age, sexual orientation, geographic origin, group history, education, upbringing and life experience.
These factors mold who we are, who we relate/resonate with, and our life style choices.
They guide our decision making when seeking wellbeing initiatives and engaging with health and wellness providers.
Some cultural models of health/wellbeing include:
- Te whare tapa whā
Te whare tapa whā is a model of the 4 dimensions of wellbeing developed by Sir Mason Durie in 1984 to provide a Māori perspective on health. The 4 dimensions are: taha tinana (physical wellbeing) taha hinengaro (mental wellbeing) taha wairua (spiritual wellbeing).
- Te Wheke
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 Fonua Model
The Fonua model is a Tongan framework to health which comprises of five dimensions of life which are inter-dependent and complementary to each other. To maintain harmony in life, health issues must be addressed at all dimensions (Tu‘itahi, 2007). In additional to the five dimensions, there are four phases in the natural order of Fonua (Sione Tu‘itahi, 2009).