We are the Whānau Ora commissioning agency for Te Waipounamu. We work to respond to whānau innovation, to foster and grow inspirational ideas that are whānau-centred, intergenerational, locally driven, and provide direct impact for whānau. Working alongside whānau to enable independent transformational change.

We represent a legal partnership of Nga Iwi o Te Waipounamu, the nine iwi of the South Island: Ngāi Tahu; Ngāti Rarua; Ngāti Tama; Ngāti Kuia; Ngāti Koata, Rangitane o Wairau, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā To; Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Atiawa. This unique initiative is the first time, ever, that the iwi have come together for a common cause to trailblaze a new model that reflects the aspirations of ngā iwi as they relate to whānau.

Our name represents the convergence of the rivers of Te Waipounamu, bringing sustenance to the people, and reflecting the partnership’s founding principle of whanaungatanga.



Whānau Ora is based on the belief that a healthy whānau is not reliant on indicators of deprivation but is instead driven by a belief in our own inherent wealth.

Our wellbeing is intimately tied to the concepts of caring – the application of manaakitanga, wairuatanga, ukaipotanga.

Our relationships encourage interdependence; we know that our strength comes through all of us taking up our roles and responsibilities to one another. It recognises the collective strength and capability of whānau to achieve better outcomes in areas such as health, education, housing, environment, employment and income levels.


Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu provides opportunities for whānau-led initiatives to receive investment through our ORA Funding Waves (Opportunity to Realise Aspirations). Our ORA funding is available to whānau initiatives that align to our seven Whānau Ora Pou and demonstrate engagement with whānau from a kaupapa Māori perspective.

As the South Island Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency the focus of our investment is to positively impact whānau living within Te Waipounamu.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu utilises a unique approach to commissioning outcomes for whānau across Te Waipounamu. Guided by the seven pou of the Whānau Ora Outcomes Framework, whānau develop initiatives that are whānau-centred and whānau-defined.

Supported by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, whānau are empowered to fulfil their aspirations in the way that they envision. While the initiatives supported are diverse in their scope, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has identified three common impact areas across commissioned initiatives which are:

  1. Education and Skills
  2. Health and Wellbeing
  3. Culture and Identity


Whānau Ora Navigators support whānau to be self-determining and navigate whānau to champion their aspirations.

Navigators work with whānau to:

  • support them through crisis and link them to the appropriate services

  • Collaborate, broker services and advocate ensuring their needs are addressed in a holistic way.

  • Help develop a step-by step plan to achieve their goals and aspirations.

  • Identify and strengthen support networks.

  • Reduce any risk of harm to whānau.

  • Uplift mana and create opportunities for cultural connectedness.

The Whānau Ora approach is unique because it:

  • Recognises a collective entity,

  • Endorses a group capacity for self-determination,

  • Has an inter-generational dynamic,

  • Is built on a Māori cultural foundation,

  • Asserts a positive role for whānau within society and

  • Can be applied across a wide range of social and economic sectors