Remodelling the four walls of wellness in 2020

Life At Vista Blog Post Banner Four Walls Wellness

Wellness can mean a lot of different things to different people, but staying healthy is important for everyone. Doing so in the modern-day work environment is challenging. Between the work day and commitments of home life, finding the time to fit in exercise, plan or prepare a nutritious diet, or time to set aside for mental well-being were already hard enough.

Then we got stuck at home on top of it.

It’s pretty easy to look at 2020 and see just why our overall well-being needs to be prioritised more so now than ever.

Vista has held annual Wellness Month challenges for several years now, and each time they’ve been a huge success. Shaping this year’s challenge proved… challenging. This year, we decided to supersize our Wellness Challenge and made it global! We had teams joining us from across Vista Group's companies around the world.


Te Whare Tapa Whā

For our Wellness Challenge, we built around a model called Te Whare Tapa Whā—a model designed by a leading Māori health advocate, Sir Mason Durie, in 1984. The model describes wellbeing as a meeting house with four walls: taha tinata or physical wellbeing, taha wairua or spiritual wellbeing, taha hinengaro or mental and emotional wellbeing, and taha whānau or family and social wellbeing, and whenuaour roots—forming the foundation.

The notion of Te Whare Tapa Whā underpins New Zealand’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which coincides with our Wellness Challenge and is probably more important than ever for many of us this year.


Taha Tinana (Physical Health)

Managing our physical health is the most straightforward wellness challenge on the surface, but when the world is largely homebound and isolating, we’re getting a lot less exercise—and opportunity for it—than usual. Step challenges (with 8,000 per day as a goal) was one way we encouraged participants to get active again, as well as aiming to spend 30 minutes a day exercising in a way other than walking.


Kai (Nutrition)

Healthy eating can easily slip the mind, so we built in a goal of drinking 2L of water a day as one of the challenges, as well as helpful reminders to stay hydrated and keep that goal in mind. Eating healthy provided one of the easiest ways for us all to stay connected with our Wellness Challenge around the globe. After all, who doesn’t love some beautiful food pics? Here’s some of our favourite gorgeous meals cooked up around the globe:


Taha Hinengaro (Mental Health) & Taha Whānau (Family Health)

Mental wellbeing, and especially social wellbeing, is tough during isolation. 

We created Teams and Slack channels to give everyone a great communal space for fun banter and to help people get to know each other. People shared all sorts of fun wellness creativity, and we encouraged everyone to find some fun and engaging ways to change up their day-to-day; whether that was spicing up virtual meetings with a bit of fancy dress or background games, or trying to up social time among their teams.

But the Wellness Challenge isn’t just about well-being with work—even when it’s hard to separate work from home by location. Dedicated time without screens or calls, and spending time with loved ones and family—family time with the kids, board games with the flatmates, or some alone time with a book or music (we even created a collaborative "Sounds Of Vista" Spotify playlist to help just for this!), are all great ways to take a break, refresh, and look after one’s mental health.

Playing Along At Home

Wellness can be fun, too--that’s a very important part of this challenge for us. Since it’s harder to have that direct connection with each other as a team, with various countries around the world in lockdown and working from home, we created a points system to game-ify the challenge!

Completing the step goal for the day, having healthy food, spending 30 minutes of dedicated time away from the screen, and everything else all contributed towards your team’s point total. It’s a great motivator to see how you’re helping your team, to remember you’re doing this challenge together, and of course to celebrate what you’ve achieved.

Something we hope this whole experience teaches people is that personal well-being is important and worth working hard for. Since we’re typically only accountable to ourselves for our wellbeing in many ways, having a team to both support and be supported by in it helps. And it’s not just about getting exercise and eating well.

Mental health, creativity, and socialisation can be just as important. We hope seeing the value of taking time to look after mental health in the points of the challenge helps to show it’s just as important as your greens or your day’s worth of steps.


If you’re interested in learning more about Mental Health Awareness Week in New Zealand, or the World Federation for Mental Health, visit or


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