Te Reo


“Wairua to me means being in touch with the spiritual element” – Huataki Whareaitu

Māori have always recognised the significance of wairua (spirituality) for wellbeing. In fact, many of us consider it to be the most important requirement for health.

Wairua means being in touch with the spiritual side of life. It is the capacity to have faith, and to understand the links between people and the environment. It doesn’t necessarily mean having a religious belief, although for many people this is an important part of their spirituality.

Wairua is also reflected in our relationships with the environment. Land, lakes and mountains have spiritual significance, and access to the natural environment is important for our identity and sense of wellbeing.

Whakawhanuangatanga – Build relationships, relate well socially, communicate

  • Connect with the whenua – spend time in your tūrangawaewae (place of belonging) or a place that recharges you
  • If you have a religious faith, attend services and be part of the community
  • Connect with your culture to access your wairua – learn te reo, spend time at your marae.

Koha me te aroha – Gift with love

  • Donate your time or skills to your religious community
  • Spend time teaching your children about wairua
  • Get involved in protecting the environment.

Whakatewhatewha – Examine, inquire, explore

  • Investigate your whakapapa, who you are, where you are from and where you stand; skilfully reflecting on the past can enhance our appreciation of the present moment
  • Learn more about Māori spiritual beliefs
  • Learn te reo as a way of connecting with your culture and wairua.

Kia Mataara, Mohiotanga – Alertness, insight, intelligence, knowledge

  • Find a spiritual practice you can become completely absorbed in, such as meditation
  • Begin meetings with a karakia (prayer) or short reflection (such as an inspiring quote) followed by a brief silent period, allowing people to bring their full attention into the room
  • Take notice of the land and how you connect with it – spend time in a place that revitalises you.

Mahi kakamā – Be nimble and active

  •  Climb your maunga or swim in your awa or moana.

Read about the other cornerstones of health

Te taha hinengaro – Mental health
Te taha whānau – Family health
Te taha tinana – Physical health