Sharesies takes holistic approach to wellbeing strategies through te whare tapa whā

HR leader Anna Liumaihetau Darling discusses model of health at HRD National HR Summit

Sharesies takes holistic approach to wellbeing strategies through te whare tapa whā

Te whare tapa whā is the model of health that represents health and wellbeing as a wharenui (meeting house) with four walls.

At the HRD National HR Summit New Zealand held at the Hilton last month, Anna Liumaihetau Darling, General Manager of People Experience at Sharesies, explained how the organisation applies the principles of te whare tapa whā to their wellbeing program.

“In order to really support wellbeing, we need to look at it holistically as a whole,” she said. “For me, te whare tapa whā summarises all the facets of wellbeing from a te ao Māori perspective, but in particular, it focuses on all the facets of wellbeing within a framework.”

Developed by health advocate Sir Mason Durie in 1984, the model “is nearly as old as me,” Liumaihetau Darling said, “but its simplicity is one of the things that continues to draw people to it, even for decades after it was developed.”


The health of the land and the environment is strongly connected to health and wellbeing for Māori and whenua is the foundation for the other four dimensions, also known as the walls of the wharenui, of te whare tapa whā. In particular, whenua is a key part of identity.

“One of the things we do under the whenua umbrella is acknowledging mana whenua (the owners of the land). If we are in a group together or having a team meeting online, then we will acknowledge mana whenua,” said Liumaihetau Darling.

Some of the initiatives Sharesies implements under the whenua banner are:

  • Acknowledging the land we are on
  • Encouraging time outside
  • Sharing our pepeha
  • Volunteering in the community
  • Plant sharing
  • Being a BCorp – business for good
  • Being a carbon neutral organisation

Te taha wairua

Te taha wairua is about people, places, and spaces that are dear to us.

“When I think of Wairua, the first thing that pops into my head is kind of spiritual but it’s more than that,” said Liumaihetau Darling. “It’s about celebrating success; it’s about acknowledging culture and history and how that plays a part of people’s stories.”

Some of the initiatives Sharesies implements under the wairua banner are:

  • Teaming resources
  • Belonging and equity working group
  • Celebrations Club
  • Monthly team connection budget
  • Te Reo Māori classes
  • Leave options – transfer of public holidays, tangihanga leave and jury service leave

Te taha tinana

Te taha tinana is about how our body grows, feels, and moves, and how we care for it. “Being physically well helps us to be feel mentally well and improves our overall wellbeing,” said Liumaihetau Darling.

Some of the initiatives Sharesies implements under the tinana banner are:

  • Activity Fund
  • Walking meetings
  • Office snacks, fruit, bread, and spreads
  • Monthly team connection budget
  • Flu and Covid vaccinations
  • Wellbeing leave, Representative leave, special covid leave
  • E-bike

Te taha hinengaro

Te taha hinengaro is your mind, heart, conscience, thoughts and feelings.

“It’s about how you feel as well as how you communicate and it’s all centred around your head,” said Liumaihetau Darling. “If you hurt your body, what do you do? You go to a physio, so what do you do when your head is not OK?”

Some of the initiatives Sharesies implements under the hinengaro banner are:

  • Increasing the amount of people getting therapy
  • Intentional wellbeing support – handy tools, financial advisors, career coaches
  • In-depth reports that provide deeper insights behind challenges reported by the team
  • Quarterly employee wellbeing data and therapy uptake report which helps us track how people are doing over time.
  • Wellbeing leave
  • Development budgets and workshops
  • Life, trauma and income protection cover

Te taha whānau

Te taha whānau is about the people we care about and share the lives with who provide a sense of belonging and support.

Some of the initiatives Sharesies implements under the whānau banner are:

  • Flexible working
  • Kid- and dog-friendly workplace
  • Flexible working
  • Leave
  • Monthly team connection budget
  • Activity fund

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