Government releases final report from Whānau Ora Review

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Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has released the final report summarising findings from the review of the Whānau Ora commissioning approach.

The Government announced the Whānau Ora Review in April 2018. The independent review panel looked at how well the model supported sustainable change for whānau, the accountability and transparency of the model, and the potential for wider application of a whānau-centred approach within government with an emphasis on the social sector.

The panel spent six months meeting with Whānau Ora partners, providers, navigators, entities and government agencies around the country. The panel also considered more than 270 submissions. The findings from the review are summarised in the final report, Whānau Ora Review Report: Tipu Mātoro ki te Ao (2018).

The executive summary of the report provides a brief summary of the three main questions the panel examined, including the panel's key conclusions and recommendations for each question. The full report provides an in depth background and history of the Whānau Ora model and more detailed findings and recommendations for each of the main questions of the review.

Overall the panel found that the Whānau Ora model has resulted in positive change for many whānau across the country, noting:

"The Whānau Ora commissioning approach creates positive change for whānau. In all areas we visited, and across all monitoring reports we reviewed, we have seen whānau progress towards achieving their self-identified priorities. However, the approach is relatively new, and we believe it is too early to form a view as to whether or not that positive change will be enduring. We believe that the intentions of Whānau Ora, aiming to build resilience and capability within whānau to be self-managing and to  be the architects of their own solutions, create the conditions to achieve sustainable change." (page 6)

The panel identified features of the model they believe contribute to its success: (1) culturally-centred, whānau-centred and strengths-based; (2) flexible, which allows a focus on issues that are most important to whānau; (3) a high level of support provided by Commissioning Agencies; and (4) a committed and passionate workforce who are able to connect with the whānau they work with and are invested in the success of their communities.

The panel also identified challenges and areas for improvement, both for the commissioning approach and the wider environment that Whānau Ora operates within including government.

The report includes a wide range of recommendations. Recommendations for sustainable change are:

  • "Continue and grow the investment in the Whānau Ora Commissioning Approach;
  • Ensure that government agencies meet their own service delivery responsibilities, and commit to engage with Whānau Ora;
  • Extend the effort of Te Puni Kōkiri to provide a greater sense of leadership of Whānau Ora within government, and to better support other agencies to engage in Whānau Ora;
  • Encourage Commissioning Agencies to co-invest where they have mutual interests, and invest in getting closer to their communities; and
  • Focus Whānau Ora partners and providers on its stated intent" (page 8)

Recommendations for accountability and transparency are:

  • "Consider the strategic leadership arrangements for Whānau Ora;
  • Promote Whānau Ora and whānau-centred approaches across government; and
  • Examine and strengthen processes for downward transparency to partners, providers and whānau" (pages 9-10)

In relation to whānau-centred approaches being applied more widely across government, the panel recommended embedding:

"... reference to, and requirements about, whānau-centred approaches through levers available in the machinery of government including:

    • Influencing the Living Standards Framework, including Treasury's Budget Instructions and guidance for the 2019 Wellbeing Budget;
    • Embedding requirements for the social sector to progress whānau-centred approaches through strategies and legislation that are currently being developed to support the wellbeing of New Zealanders;
    • Completing a whānau-centred policy framework for use across government;
    • Embedding whānau-centred approaches within the wider NGO sector; and
    • Improving the quality and availability of data about whānau." (pages 10-11)

The panel then said:

"We also believe that there is a culture shift needed within government, and to
that end we have recommended that Te Puni Kōkiri work with other agencies
to capitalise on opportunities, and address the perceived barriers that inhibit the
uptake of Whānau Ora, and whānau-centred approaches." (page 11)

The panel was led by Caren Rangi (Chair), alongside other members Tania Lee Hodges, Te Raumawhitu Kupenga, Donna Matahaere-Atariki, Mereana Kim Ngārimu and Brenda Steele.

Following the panel submitting its final report to Peeni Henare in November 2018, the Minister shared the report with the three Commissioning Agencies and various Ministers and agencies. Te Puni Kōkiri will now conduct further consultation and analysis with other agencies and stakeholders. Minister Henare expects to report back to Cabinet with recommendations later in 2019.

The report was welcomed by the founder of Whānau Ora, Hon Dame Tariana TuriaTe Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu (South Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency) and Te Taumata (iwi partnership of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu). Additional commentary and responses to the report are available in the media stories below. 

In 2017, Labour promised an extra $20 million over four years for Whānau Ora. There was no additional funding for Whānau Ora in the 2018 Budget. Budget 2019 will be announced on 30 May. 

For more information see Minister Peeni Henare's media release, information from TPK on the Whānau Ora Review, and our previous news story Government appoints panel to review Whānau Ora

Related news

Te Puni Kōkiri and NZ Treasury published a discussion paper that provides a Māori perspective on the government's Living Standards Framework: An Indigenous Approach to the Living Standards Framework (2019). The Treasury press release noted "The paper contends that Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Te Ao Māori and a whānau-centred approach need to drive Māori wellbeing. It also proposes using the Whānau Ora Outcomes Framework, agreed to by iwi and the Crown, as a way to consider wellbeing in a holistic and connected way."

The Government announced that $15.379 million from Budget 2018 would be invested to fund ‘Whānau Resilience services’ focused on providing long-term healing and recovery services to individuals, families, whānau and communities affected by family violence. See the Ministry of Social Development for more information.

Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis announced the launch of the new Office for Māori Crown Relations in December 2018. For more information see our previous news story Feedback invited on Crown/Māori Relations Portfolio.

Related media

Time to unlock cash for whānau ora, Waatea News, 26.02.2019

Pressure on mainstream following Whānau Ora report, Waatea News, 26.02.2019

Taking Whānau Ora to the nation in “We Dream”, Waatea News, 26.02.2019

Mainstream agencies dumping tough cases on whānau ora, Waatea News, 21.02.2019

Government review finds its own agencies don't buy into Whānau Ora enough, Radio NZ, 21.02.2019

Whānau Ora overwhelmed by demand, review says, NZ Herald, 21.02.2019

Well being wake up in whānau ora report, Waatea News, 21.02.2019

‘The way forward for this country’, Editorial: Jeremy Muir, Gisborne Herald, 21.02.2019

Whānau Ora Minister's concern over lack of knowledge of services, Radio NZ, 21.02.2019

Peeni Henare talks Whānau Ora 2019, Māori Television, 24.12.2018

Whānau Ora surplus questions raised at TPK review, Māori TV, 05.12.2018

Whānau Ora Minister demands explanation after commissioning agency pays $600k to its shareholder, One News, 05.12.2018

Major financial concerns raised for Te Puni Kōkiri, Radio NZ, 05.12.2018

Te Puni Kōkiri challenged about contractors, Te Karere TVNZ, 04.12.2018

Change could be on the cards for Whānau Ora, Māori Television, 22.10.2018

Whanau Ora: No guarantees for promised funding - Jacinda Ardern, Newshub, 22.09.2018