Mission Statement

Institute of Step-Family Dynamics

Values are our internal guidance system. They inform our focus and the decisions we make. Knowing what our values are is key to to our practice. The values of the Institute of Step-Family Dynamics are more than just a list of things we think sound like worthy goals. The values of the Institute are about what we wish to bring to the world and how we seek to empower both the coaches and professionals who are part of our organisation and the individuals and families who come to us for support.

The values foundation of the Institute of Step-Family Dynamics is a Māori  health model developed by Rose Pere, Te Wheke (The Octopus). Te Wheke defines family health. The head of the octopus represents the family (te whānau) and the eyes represent total wellbeing for the individual and family (waiora). The tentacles each represent an aspect of health. These aspects are interwoven and this is represented by the close relationship between the tentacles.

These aspects are:

  • Te whānau – the family
  • Waiora – total wellbeing for the individual and family
  • Wairuatanga – spirituality
  • Hinengaro – the mind
  • Taha tinana – physical wellbeing
  • Whanaungatanga – extended family
  • Mauri – life force in people and objects
  • Mana ake – unique identity of individuals and family
  • Hā a koro ma, a kui ma – breath of life from forbearers/ancestors
  • Whatumanawa – the open and healthy expression of emotion

Te Wheke is a model used for guiding an indigenous approach in our New Zealand medical system. While the Institute is not a part of that system, the values embodied by Te Wheke are a solid foundation upon which to build an Institute dedicated to enhancing the wellbeing of step-families. The values are also a solid foundation for us as practitioners, both in terms of structuring our own lives and in how we empower those within in our own lives and those with whom we are privileged to work with.

The Institute has a global reach, so it’s a relevant question to ask why use an indigenous health model from New Zealand. The answer is simple – the values that support families are universal. We may use different language to describe them, but the basic values remain the same. We need to be in balance mind, body, and soul in order to work effectively with clients and to create and maintain balance within our families.

Reference: Ministry of Health. (n.d.). Māori health models – Te Wheke. https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/populations/maori-health/maori-health-models/maori-health-models-te-wheke