Frequently Asked Questions

Whānau Ora Report of the Taskforce on Whānau-centred Initiatives

What is Whānau Ora?

Whānau Ora is an inclusive approach to providing services and opportunities to families across New Zealand. It empowers families as a whole, rather than focusing separately on individual family members and their problems.

It requires multiple Government agencies to work together with families rather than separately with individual family members. It will be available to all families in need across New Zealand.

Why is the Government supporting the Whānau Ora approach?

It’s clear from statistics that we can do better in helping families in need.

The Government believes there is a better, more effective way of using the hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money already being spent by various government agencies trying to help families across New Zealand. It also believes it can provide better value for money for taxpayers and better results for families.

Who will have access to Whānau Ora?

Whānau Ora will be available to all families in need.

Why was the Taskforce established?

In June 2009, Cabinet approved the establishment of the Taskforce on Whānau-centred Initiatives, which is also known as the Whānau Ora Taskforce.

The Taskforce was established to develop a policy framework for a new method of government interaction with Māori service providers to meet the social service needs of whānau.

What is the scope of the Taskforce's work?

The Taskforce agreed terms of reference included:

  • developing a draft consultation document by the end of September 2009
  • releasing the draft consultation document in October 2009
  • reporting back formally to Minister Turia by end of January 2010
  • that the Taskforce has powers of recommendation only – some of its recommendations will be accepted and others will not.

Who are the Taskforce members?

Why were these members chosen?

Like most government Taskforces the Whānau Ora Taskforce is government-appointed and brings together professionals who are recognised leaders in their field. Taskforce members were selected based on their skills, experience and expertise.

They come from a range of sectors, including whānau health, education, family violence, working with young people, economics, and Māori development.

Who did the Taskforce engage with?

The Taskforce held 22 regional hui with a range of urban and rural whānau, iwi and service providers during October and November 2009. Approximately 600 people attended these hui.

The Taskforce also received more than 100 written submissions on its discussion document Whānau Ora: A whānau-centred approach to Māori wellbeing.

What are the Taskforce's key recommendations?

The Taskforce makes six key recommendations in its report:

  • The Taskforce recommends that an independent Trust be constituted to govern, coordinate and implement Whānau Ora, and report to a dedicated Minister of Whānau Ora.
  • The Taskforce recommends the establishment of a specific Whānau Ora appropriation(s) to be managed by the Trust.
  • The Taskforce recommends that Whānau Ora services are integrated and comprehensive, and focused on measurable outcomes that contribute to whānau empowerment.
  • The Taskforce recommends that Whānau Ora services are shaped by te ao Māori.
  • The Taskforce recommends that all government agencies with responsibilities for any aspect of whānau wellbeing commit to the Whānau Ora principles and support the Whānau Ora approach.
  • The Taskforce recommends that the Trust establish regional panels to ensure Whānau Ora contributes in positive and realistic ways in local communities.

What happens next?

The work of the Taskforce is complete. The Government is currently considering the Taskforce report and will formally respond to the report in the next month or so.

In the meantime, the Government has announced that Hon Tariana Turia will be the Minister Responsible for Whānau Ora and a Governance Group will be established to oversee implementation.

How will Whānau Ora be funded?

Ministers have agreed that Whānau Ora will be financially neutral – funded by reprioritising existing funding from Health, Social Development and Maori Affairs. Details will be set out in the Budget in May.

What will be the role of the Governance Group?

The role of the Governance Group will be to facilitate the implementation of Whānau Ora by providing advice to the Minister Responsible for Whānau Ora, Hon Tariana Turia, and also to provide leadership and co-ordination across government agencies and stakeholders.

Who are the members of the Governance Group?

Three members of the Whānau Ora Taskforce and three government agency chief executives have been appointed to manage the programme. They will report to Mrs Turia as Minister Responsible for Whānau Ora. The group is:

  • Rob Cooper (chair) is the chief executive of the Ngāti Hine Health Trust, a Māori-owned provider of social services in Northland.
  • Professor Mason Durie was chair of the Whānau Ora Taskforce, is Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Massey University and Professor of Māori Research and Development.
  • Nancy Tuaine of Te Atihaunui a Paparangi (Whanganui) is the manager of the Whanganui River Trust Board and a member of the Whanganui District Health Board.
  • Leith Comer, chief executive, Te Puni Kōkiri.
  • Peter Hughes, chief executive, Ministry of Social Development.
  • Stephen McKernan, director-general, Ministry of Health.

How were the members of the Governance Group chosen?

The Governance Group is structured to have the appropriate balance between community representatives and officials. Each person was chosen for his or her particular expertise in an area of social service funding and provision, or in their official capacity.