He Oranga - Wellbeing in prison

We are committed to looking after the wellbeing of everyone in prison, and improving outcomes for all.

Our holistic approach follows the principles of Te Whare Tapa Whā, a model created by Professor Sir Mason Durie.

Te Whare Tapa Whā describes a person's oranga/wellbeing like four walls of a wharenui/meeting house. Each wall (taha), of the wharenui represents a different part of wellbeing (wairua, tinana, hinengaro, whānau). When each of the four wellbeing aspects are strong and in balance, we thrive. When one or more of these aspects is weak, we become imbalanced and our wellbeing is affected.

  • Taha  Whānau - provides us with the strength to be who we are. This is the link to our ancestors, our ties with the past, the present and the future.
  • Taha Hinengaro - This is about how we see ourselves in this universe, The capacity to communicate, to think and to feel, mind and body are inseparable.
  • Taha Wairua – The spiritual essence of a person is their life force. This determines us as individuals and as a collective, who and what we are, where we have come from and where we are going.
  • Taha Tinana - Our physical ‘being’ supports our essence and shelters us from the external environment.

When we work with people in prison, we offer them support to strengthen each aspect of their wellbeing.

Examples of Te Whare Tapa Whā in practice

  • A case manager supporting someone to connect with their wairua/spirituality or to things that bring meaning to them. This might mean religion or a spiritual connection to spaces and/or places. It can also mean enabling someone to share their story and experience not only in order for the practitioner to understand them, but for the individual to know themselves better through culture and whakapapa.
  • A nurse providing someone with healthcare to support a person's tinana/physical health, or helping them to see a doctor, physio or dentist if needed.
  • A probation officer helping someone to connect with their whānau/family (where it is safe and everyone is willing). For example, they could support  a whānau hui when they are getting ready to be sentenced or to leave prison.
  • A programme facilitator helping someone to learn better ways of thinking and acting, so that person can improve their hinengaro/emotional wellbeing, and don’t cause themselves or others harm.
  • Hōkai Tapuwae reports are a form of cultural intervention resulting in a report which may be used in court under section 27. The process can also be requested for those who have been sentenced and are residing in prison or serving their sentence in the community. Based on the principles of Te Whare Tapa Whā, the reports provide an opportunity to discuss an individual’s whakapapa and cultural identity, and to present their place within te ao Māori. A Hōkai Tapuwae report informs practitioners about a person’s cultural background and provides a fuller picture of a person’s identity.