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Whare Tapa Whā Kete Resource Kit – Book Review

Whare Tapa Whā Kete Resource Kit

Written by Geneva Harrison; illustrated by Katherine Hall; Te Reo by Moana Keelan. (2020). Tuhi Stationery.

This resource kit is designed as an introduction to Te Whare Tapa Whā, a wellbeing model developed by leading Māori health advocate Sir Mason Durie in 1984 that describes health and wellbeing as a wharenui. It is a tool to improve the wellbeing of kids and their whānau and have fun at the same time.

It is designed to be interactive, allowing kids to learn through experience by reflecting on the concepts in this model and their own daily wellbeing habits. Self-awareness is encouraged through activities such as keeping a record with a journal, workbooks, activity cards, white board markers, posters, and habit charts. It allows them to get creative with multiple ways to personalise the material, with coloured pencils and affirming sticker slogans to highlight positive progress.

This kit includes a copy of Geneva Harrison and Katherine Hall’s book Whare Tapa Whā, which showcases how you can use the model. The main character, Michael, and his mum talk through the four walls of the whare tapa whā to help them stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

I think this box set is a real treasure trove and is a fun way to share learnings about the importance of self-care. It is also an opportunity to spark family conversations about what each person likes to do to keep well and feel good.

This review is for the kit for ages 5-8, but the publisher has adapted the resources to tailor for year 1 to year 10, with both Te Reo Māori and bilingual versions.

Reviewed by Kim Higginson, Information Management Specialist, MHF

Rāhina / Monday

Reconnect with yourself

Connecting with yourself is a skill. To start the week, begin by taking a moment to check in with yourself, acknowledge how you’re feeling and how the last few years of turbulence affected you and your connection with others and the world around you. This is a good time to think about the people you have lost contact with who you might want to reach out to, or the special places you haven’t visited in a while, and set some whāinga/goals for the week ahead.

At the end of the week, you can reflect on how you felt at the start and how reconnecting with the people and places that are special to you has lifted you up.

A few ideas for reconnecting with yourself:

Rātū/ Tuesday

Reconnect with a friend or loved one

We know life can get busy, but feeling connected to the people that are important to us can make a big difference to our mental health. Connection brings purpose and belonging to our lives and makes us feel happier and more secure. Today is about reconnecting with the people in our lives – it could be someone special who you have lost touch with or just wish you caught up with more often.

A few ideas for reconnecting with a friend or loved one:

Rāapa / Wednesday

Reconnect with a special place

The places and spaces we spend our time in have a huge impact on how we feel. Most of us have places we can go that calm, inspire or uplift us. Today, make time to go to a place that is special to you and take notice of how you feel when you are there. For some of us, the special place that comes to mind might be out of reach - perhaps it’s overseas, or too far away to get to. Even if we can’t get there right now, there are ways that we can reconnect with the places that lift us up.

A few ideas for reconnecting with a special place:

Rāpare / Thursday

Reconnect with your community.

Today is about reconnecting with your hapori whānui/wider community. It’s the perfect time to sign up to be a volunteer or join a local community group, but it could also be as simple as making the effort to reconnect with the people you interact with every day. Today is all about savouring the little hononga/connections that make us human.

A few ideas for reconnecting with your community:

Rāmere / Friday

Reconnect with nature

To round out the week, we’re asking you to reconnect with the beautiful taonga that is te taiao/the natural environment. Studies show exposure to nature not only makes us feel better emotionally, it contributes to our physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. All the more reason to spend at least a small moment today outside - breathing in some fresh air and noticing the world around you.

A few ideas for reconnecting with nature: