Culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services are of the upmost importance within New Zealand's diverse multicultural population. Culture in the context of health and perspectives on delivering appropriate healthcare are defined in the following quote;

“Culture defines how health care information is received, how rights and protections are exercised, what is considered to be a health problem, how symptoms and concerns about the problem are expressed, who should provide treatment for the problem, and what type of treatment should be given. In sum, because health care is a cultural construct, arising from beliefs about the nature of disease and the human body, cultural issues are actually central in the delivery of health services treatment and preventive interventions. By understanding, valuing, and incorporating the cultural differences of (New Zealand's) diverse population and examining one’s own health-related values and beliefs, health care organizations, practitioners, and others can support a health care system that responds appropriately to, and directly serves the unique needs of populations whose cultures may be different from the prevailing culture” (U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 2001).

Te Whare Tapa Whā Model
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Māori culture has a "whole person" view on health that encompasses all key aspects of a person's life. This includes caring for your soul, body, mind and whanau (family). Balance between these aspects is important and must be considered when working with, and caring for Maori patients and their families. A model for understanding Māori health is the concept of Te Whare Tapa Whā (Durie, 1994).

Taha Tinana- The capacity for physical growth and development. This aspect relates to physical health and cannot be separated from the mind spirit and family.

Taha Wairua- The capacity for faith and wider communication. This aspect relates to unseen and unspoken energies that can have an effect on the spirit.

Taha Whānau- The capacity to belong, care and share as part of a wider community. This aspect relates to the strength Whanau provide to enable people to be who they are. It has links with ancestors, present and past Whanau.

Taha Hinengaro- The capacity to think and to feel combines mind and body as one. This aspect relates to the mind and body as being integral components of the body and soul.

When considering culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare it is important to collaborate all of the above aspects in an effort to encompass the whole individual. For more information on the specific cultural policy and procedures in New Zealand click here.