Conceptualising Therapeutic Environments through Culture, Indigenous Knowledge and Landscape for Health and Well-Being
journal contributionposted on 15.08.2021, 20:19 by Bruno MarquesBruno Marques, Claire Freeman, Lyn Carter, Maibritt Pedersen Zari
Academic research has long established that interaction with the natural environment is associated with better overall health outcomes. Notably, the area of therapeutic environments has been borne out of the recognition of this critical relationship, but much of this research comes from a specific Western perspective. In Aotearoa-New Zealand, Māori (the Indigenous people of the land) have long demonstrated significantly worse health outcomes than non-Māori. Little research has examined the causes compared to Western populations and the role of the natural environment in health outcomes for Māori. The present study aimed to explore the relationship between Māori culture, landscape and the connection to health and well-being. Eighteen Māori pāhake (older adults) and kaumātua (elders) took part in semi-structured interviews carried out as focus groups, from June to November 2020. Transcribed interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis and kaupapa Māori techniques. We found five overarching and interrelated key themes related to Indigenous knowledge (Mātauranga Māori) that sit within the realm of therapeutic environments, culture and landscape. A conceptual framework for Therapeutic Cultural Environments (TCE) is proposed in terms of the contribution to our understanding of health and well-being and its implications for conceptualising therapeutic environments and a culturally appropriate model of care for Māori communities.