Journal of Professional Nursing

He Aha Te Mea Nui O Te Ao? 

Irihapeti Ramsden, Ngai Tahu, Rangitane, RGON, BA, Education Officer, Maori Health, Ministry of Education 

Reference:  Ramsden, I. (1989). He Aha Te Mea Nui O Te Ao? Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 5(2), 3-6. 

pdf He aha te mea nui o te Ao (2.78MB)


The Maori view of health differs fundamentally from that of the western world.  In a careful search of the Healthy Cities material I could not find any ideas which could equate with the Maori notion of wairua, of the spiritual basis of health.  Maori people understand that the key to all living interaction lies in wairua:  the wairua of the past, the present and the future.  Wherever people have lived there remains a residue of wairua.  Many of you here today will have been to places which feel comfortable, warm with the spirit of the past.  Conversely, you may feel uncomfortable or chilly in the spine when visiting some places.  As well as the wairua of people, Papatuanuku herself, the earth mother, has her own wairua as does everything emanating from her.

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