Since establishment in 2014, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has employed a social enterprise model to promote entrepreneurial social investment in Te Waipounamu. The overarching objectives of this approach are to stimulate a Māori social enterprise framework in Te Waipounamu and to achieve positive social outcomes for whānau targeted by enterprises. To date over 170 entities have been funded. Research shows that through the commissioning approach whānau experienced positive cultural, social and economic outcomes.
The process of commissioning enables whānau to be self-determining in pursuit of their aspirations and creates the conditions for whānau to build capability, acquire new knowledge, access expertise to apply new skills to work within their initiatives. Improvement is focussed on sustainability and coaching, by capitalising on the social connection and strengthening community, targeting investment and investigating the relationship between the level of investment and outcome. Targeted capability building, coaching and enterprise support prior to investment is a key priority identified through evaluations. There is an opportunity to celebrate Māori social entrepreneurs and their ‘kaupapa whānau’ from existing and previous commissioning rounds to raise the profile and value of social innovation and encourage other whānau to consider how they might contribute to positive whānau transformation through social enterprise.