What are the implications?
This paper proposes there is a need to consider the positive effects of an open discussion in New Zealand about spirituality. Such a discussion requires respect for all viewpoints. Only then can the benefits of an understanding of the relationship between spirituality and wellbeing and its implications for public policy and place in society be explored.
As well-being and quality of life are the primary goals of social policy and significant goals in economic policy, it is important they can be explored in all their dimensions. For a considerable number of New Zealanders spirituality is an important dimension of their individual and community well-being. This being so, consideration of spirituality could offer an important contribution to research projects, needs analyses, policy development and various aspects of healthcare, education and social service provision.
Spirituality has a further advantage in that it can raise serious questions about what we value, like the environment, and who and how we care for people in need. It could help temper the fiscal and physical functional approach so common and ineffective in many of our organisations and institutions. The spiritual impulse can challenge and question how human, effective and fair organisations and policies really are.
This paper looks at the importance and place of spirituality and its implications for wellbeing in the lives of New Zealanders. It offers evidence of the value of the spiritual in many spheres of life. It seeks to encourage further discussion on the place and understanding of spirituality at all levels in New Zealand. In the interests of national well-being a respectful conversation is needed between those who understand spirituality in many different ways.