I recently asked Professor Sir Mason Durie (Ngāti Kauwhata, Rangitāne), “knowing what you now know about Te Whare Tapa Whā and how far it has come, is there anything you would have done differently in 1984?” And with a swift response he said “Yes, I would have emphasised the importance of te taiao (natural environment) more. This is where we get our foundation and nourishment from.”
Now 40 years later, and with the proliferation of Te Whare Tapa Whā across multiple disciplines, Together: Te Oranga o te Katoa (Dr Amanda Wallis and Gaynor Parkin, with Arianna Rangi and Ranei Wineera-Parai) has managed to achieve the integration of Te Whare Tapa Whā with te taiao seamlessly.
The next challenge will be to explore a te reo Māori equivalent of this wonderful resource. This won’t be a simple translation. Nā te mea, he rerekē tēnei kupu ‘Together’ ki tēnei kupu ‘Kōtahitanga’. He mauri anō tō te reo Māori. Ā, he whakaaro anō tō te ao Māori.
Together is written for a uniquely Aotearoa audience. One where Te Reo and English languages are used interchangeably. And also, where mātauranga Māori and psychological science are not adversarial but rather, complementary. The use of whakataukī to help anchor each chapter are not tokenistic, but rather carefully considered within the context of each clinical case study.
A significant point of difference with Together is the ecological approach to wellbeing. It is an acknowledgment of an indigenous way of thinking about wellbeing and importantly, signals an exciting shift in psychological practice within Aotearoa. ‘Making a Ripple’ for instance shifts the focus away from the individual to recognise the interdependency that exists between people and with the environment.
Together then, is not just a book. It’s a journey.
Review by Luke Rowe, Clinical Psychologist (FNZCCP)