, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 445–460 | Cite as

Placing Well-Being: A Maori Case Study of Cultural and Environmental Specificity

  • Ruth Panelli
  • Gail Tipa
Original Contribution


Studies of well-being have been dominated by perspectives that stem from Western, health-science notions of individual’s health and psychological development. In recent times, however, there has been a developing sensitivity to the cultural and place-specific contexts affecting the health and well-being of contrasting populations in different environments. Drawing on these advances, this article explores the potential in conceptualizing a place-based notion of well-being that recognizes the cultural and environmental specificity of well-being for specific populations in a given setting. We argue that a geographical approach to well-being enables the linking of culture and environment for future indigenous research into both ecosystems and human health. Taking the case of an indigenous population, we identify the contexts that affect Maori well-being and we argue that key sociocultural and environmental dimensions need to be integrated for a culturally appropriate approach to Maori well-being.


well-being culture place Maori environment 



The Authors appreciate the support of the University of Otago and the Health Research Council NZ which has enabled us to develop our work. We also thank the editors and referees for advice and assistance in preparing our manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Ecohealth Journal Consortium 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Tipa and AssociatesMosgielNew Zealand

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