Extensions on Te Wheke.

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Love, C.
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Maori health , Te wheke (the octopus) model of health , Maori selfhood , Wairua , Mana ake , Mauri , Whanaungatanga , Tinana , Hinengaro , Whatumanawa , Ha a koro ma a kuia ma
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Te Wheke, or The Octopus model of health, as developed and presented by Rangimarie Rose Pere, has become a central part of many training and education programmes in this country. It has been used particularly in the arenas of health and mental health, education and social services training. The model is seen to be applicable across a range of contexts and is perceived as being a holistic model of health and well-being that is amenable to in depth examination and development. Te Wheke, the model, presents the octopus as a symbol representing the whanau, hapu or iwi. Each of the eight tentacles of the octopus represents a dimension of selfhood, and the numerous suckers on each tentacle represent the many aspects within each dimension. The tentacles of the octopus are overlapping and intertwined to symbolise the interconnected and inseparable nature of the dimensions. The dimensions of the octopus, represented by the tentacles as identified by Pere are: wairua, mana ake, mauri, whanaungatanga, tinana, hinengaro, whatumanawa, ha a koro ma a kuia ma. The model proposes that sustenance is required for each tentacle/dimension if the organism is to attain waiora or total well-being. Pere defines healthy Maori selfhood in terms of waiora or total well-being. Traditionally, waiora refers to the seed of life. It is a concept which incorporates the foundations of life and existence and the total well-being and development of people. Pere presents te wheke (the octopus) as a symbol representing the whanau (family unit) and, by extension, the hap? (sub-tribe) and/or the iwi (tribe or people). The model illustrates a Maori view that sees healthy individual selfhood as intertwined with and inseparable from the health of the whanau; the health of the whanau as inseparable from that of the hapu, and the health and well-being of hapu as indivisible from that of iwi. Thus, the model is applicable to individuals and to small and large groups. Pere's model, along with other models of healthy Maori selfhood, provides a framework within which dimensions may be explored and understood in a number of ways. In order to extend the picture provided by Te Wheke for those unfamiliar with Maori epistemology, this monograph illustrates the dimensions symbolised in Te Wheke and some of the aspects within these dimensions. In so doing, it interweaves the narratives of Pere and others who have written about selected aspects of the dimensions encompassed by Te Wheke. It draws on established literature relating to aspects of the dimensions, re-presenting the narratives of recognised elders and experts, in order to provide a more detailed view of some of the aspects of relevance to understanding of Maori health and well-being. It is noted, however, that the very process of selecting aspects of the various dimensions as presented by some individuals and not others does result in the presentation of a partial picture. There will inevitably be more left unsaid than said. It is acknowledged that the views presented here represent some of many possible narratives around the eight dimensions of Pere's Te Wheke model.
Love, C. (2004). Extensions on Te Wheke (Working Papers No. 6-04). Lower Hutt, New Zealand: The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
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