Connectedness to Nature Deeply Impacts our Wellbeing: Kōrero and Themes from Iwi Taiao Knowledge Holders

Cherryl Waerea-i-te-rangi Smith, Andre McLachlan, Jasmine Sampson, Pauline Hiroti


Access to and engagement with tūpuna whenua (ancestral lands) is a core component of wellbeing and identity for Māori. Western measurements of nature-wellbeing relationships do not address the special stressors and needs of Indigenous people in their relationships with the whenua (land).

Guided by Kaupapa Māori research methodology, this study presents key information from interviews with 10 Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa Knowledge Holders who have maintained connection with the taiao (environment) throughout their lives.

A thematic analysis found four themes that highlight the relationships between the uri (descendants) of Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa and the whenua: Tūpuna Taiao – learning from the environment itself; Mahi-a-pōtiki – engaging in the taiao through play, tuition and risk taking; Mentorship/Kaiārahi: the importance of guidance and support engaging in the taiao and Manaakitanga and Kaitiakitanga: caring for the land and for others.

The four themes show a transition from learning by exposure and engagement through to taking responsibilities for caring for each other and the whenua, our tūpuna (ancestor) that cares and sustains us. These four themes have been incorporated into a broader wellbeing questionnaire to enable an iwi based analysis and understanding of their Rangatahi (youth) wellbeing, strengths and needs. 


Nature-Wellbeing Connection – A Literature Review of Measurements of Connection to Nature Within Indigenous Wellbeing


Book Review 1 A Fire in the Belly of Hineāmaru by Webber and O’Connor

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén