by Isla Huffadine

Chapel Matters

A really helpful model of well-being which covers the whole of life is the Māori model of Te Whare Tapa Wha. This is based on the image of a whare where each of the four walls represents an aspect of health. Each person is like the whare, with a strong foundation on the land (te whenua) – the place you stand and belong (tūrangawaewae) – and four equally important sides in terms of your well-being: physical health, family health, mental health, and taha wairua – spiritual health.

All four walls are important for your total well-being (hau ora). If one of the four walls is missing or in some way damaged, then you can become ‘unbalanced’ and subsequently unwell, just as if your house was missing a wall, then it wouldn’t do a very good job of sheltering and protecting you! In our secular world we often neglect the spiritual dimension of life, and this will therefore affect our overall well-being, our hau ora.

Karakia (prayer) is a really important dimension of Māori spirituality (taha wairua), so with this week being Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week), I would recommend looking more deeply into the Māori version of the Lord's Prayer, Te Karakia O Te Atua. In every language that the Lord’s Prayer has been translated into, there are key words that can help us appreciate the heart of the prayer and the heart of God as seen in that culture. So for the Māori Lord's Prayer, Te Karakia O Te Atua, we need to feel the pull of the Māori words in order to be nourished by them spiritually, to strengthen our taha wairua and our overall well-being. This website has a version of it with an English translation you might like to look at, and you can hear it being said too!