Whānau Ora is an inclusive, culturally-anchored approach to provide services and opportunities to whānau (Māori word for extended family) and families across New Zealand. It aims to empower whānau and families as a whole, rather than separately focusing on individual family members and their problems.
Whānau Ora requires multiple government agencies to work together with whānau and families rather than separately with individual family members.
From late 2012 through to mid-2013 additional efforts were undertaken to expand the whanau-centred approach within Whanau Ora to incorporate a focus on Pacific families, and to develop clearer pathways for engaging Pacific families and communities through Whānau Ora.
Whānau Ora currently delivers whānau-centred outcomes to 8,916 whānau made up of 41,952 whānau members. Pacific family members account for 15% of the total number of individual family members engaging with Whānau Ora.
Phase two sees the devolution of decision-making closer to communities through the establishment of three non-governmental agencies that ‘commission’ (or purchase) outcomes for whānau. The commissioning approach reflects the importance of community-based leadership and decision-making to the continued growth and success of Whānau Ora as a social, economic and cultural development approach for whānau and families.
The Whānau Ora approach provides whānau and families with the support and guidance they need to be self-managing; living healthy lifestyles; participating fully in society; confidently participating in Te Ao Māori; economically secure and successfully involved in wealth creation; and cohesive, resilient and nurturing.
In the 2015/16 financial year, 43.207 million NZD was available to support Whānau Ora commissioning activity, and 3.933 million NZD was available to support Whānau Ora service delivery capability.
The bullets below summarise the results achieved for whānau and families in the first phase of Whānau Ora.
- Almost two-thirds of whānau who were engaged with Whānau Ora received support from Navigators and developed whānau plans. Whānau aspirations were wide-ranging and evenly-spread across the six high-level outcomes identified by the Taskforce on Whānau-centred initiatives.
- The immediate impacts of collective services were extensive. Some gains were in ‘intermediary outcomes’ (for example, improved service access, motivation) and others were in ‘higher-level’ outcome areas (for example, increased income, improved employment and so on).
- On average, whānau experienced more than seven intermediary gains and more than three higher-level gains in wellbeing.
- The most common intermediary improvements were accessing services, happiness, relationships and leadership, where over 70 percent experienced advances. The most common higher-level improvements were in safety and education/training, where 76 percent and 61 percent of whānau, respectively, made advances.
- A moderately strong correlation was noted between whānau-centred
approaches and intermediary whānau gains, and between intermediary
and higher-level whānau gains; also between less directly connected
outcomes (for example, knowledge of whakapapa (genealogy) and
reduced rates of smoking).