Hopes high funding relief will target whānau-driven solutions to eliminate family violence

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu welcomes additional funding in the family violence sector but urges the importance of support for whānau-centred responses.

“Whānau are desperate to achieve safety in their homes and are looking for support that acknowledges their perspectives and fills current gaps to achieving impact.  The funding announced today is only part of the solution,” says Helen Leahy, Pouārahi/Chief Executive.

The Prime Minister’s announcement of a funding boost of $76.2 million recognises that the impact of family violence has a high social and financial cost to society.

“There is an urgent need for whānau to have access to timely and appropriate services and support.  Within that, our whānau are adamant about the need for kaupapa-driven solutions.  Māori whānau have not always been able to make their own decisions and choices of service provider.  Some of their feedback has been that some mainstream services are too far removed from the reality of Māori whānau, and te ao Māori (Māori cultural perspectives and values)”, Ms Leahy says.

“Services are, however, only one component of the diverse strands of support families require to be free from harm.  We also need to invest in families themselves.  We know that the great majority of incidents of family violence are not reported. We must resource whānau to strengthen their capacity to make sure they are safe and to achieve their aspirations for long-term wellbeing.”

Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau was established in May 2016 to bring about a coordinated response to whānau Māori experiencing domestic and family violence.  It is a whānau-led response to family violence backed by the nine iwi of Te Waipounamu, kaupapa Māori organisations and the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency.

“Our desire as a collective was to enable and promote whānau led solutions reflective of their needs, strengths, aims, and aspirations,” Ms Leahy says.   “Māori are more than twice as likely to be a victim of a violent interpersonal offence by an intimate partner; the logical corollary to that is we must work with the whole whānau”.

Over the course of the last two years, the Tū Pono network has partnered with marae and whānau in over eighteen separate hui across Te Waipounamu, promoting a whole of whānau strength-based approach at multiple levels to keep whānau safe.  This includes primary prevention and early intervention strategies to address the underlying causes of domestic violence and/or enabling those identified as at risk of violence to access timely and culturally appropriate support both within services but more often than not within their own whānau context.

Ms Leahy says, “Tu Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau recognises the vital role of active and meaningful participation from whānau Māori in leading their own solutions.   Tū Pono emerged from the vital need to enable a stronger Māori response to family violence by asserting whānau voice as a fundamental key to reduce and eliminate harm”.


Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o Te Whānau, a whānau-driven movement to enable stronger Māori driven responses to reduce and eliminate family harm/violence. The Tu Pono Network is working with local Tū Pono champions to facilitate community hui right across Te Waipounamu, so that we can share this important kaupapa and find our own solutions.

To find out more go to http://www.teputahitanga.org/tu-pono/ or check out the Facebook page for updates and events being held: Tū Pono: Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau.

https://www.facebook.com/TuuPono/videos/452605078507555/ - Standing in our Truth : Tu Pono - Te Mana Kaha o te Whānau

https://www.facebook.com/TuuPono/videos/452606641840732/ - A Pathway of Hope and Light : Kei roto ko te Kore, Ka Puta te Ao Marama


About us: Te Pūtahitanga: o Te Waipounamu is a Commissioning Entity that works on behalf of the iwi in the South Island to support and enable whānau to create sustained social impact.  We do this by developing and investing in ideas and initiatives to improve outcomes for Māori, underpinned by whānau-centred principles and strategies; these include emergency preparedness and disaster recovery.  Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu also invests in Navigator roles to support and build whānau capability. 

 “There is evidence across the three evaluations that the whānau commissioning model is emancipatory and deeply rooted in a communitarian approach which emphasises compassion, social obligation, and mutual determination. The social enterprises and innovations that have been successful demonstrate how whānau can work together to create a community of change leveraging resources, capabilities and cultural strengths”.


Evaluation of Waves 4 and 5 Commissioning for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu 2018 (page 6)  Catherine Savage, Wendy Dallas-Katoa, John Leonard and Letitia Goldsmith

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