“Relationships with whānau give lives meaning and provide a path to wholeness”
Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for the South Island, has welcomed the recommendations from He Ara Oranga, the report of the inquiry into mental health and addiction.
‘”The 219-page report provides consistent and compelling evidence about the importance of supporting people within their whānau and, for Māori and Pacific peoples, the advantages of Whānau Ora to health and wellbeing (pg 166),” said Helen Leahy, Pouārahi of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.
“He Ara Oranga directs the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the new mental health and wellbeing commission, to facilitate a national co-designed service transformation process with people with lived experience of mental health and addiction challenges; whānau and a range of entities including kaupapa Māori services and Whānau Ora agencies (Recommendation 7, pg 16).
The report noted that participants in the review had praised Whānau Ora providers for valuing the role of family and whānau in keeping people well and supporting their recovery (pg 46). They called for the wider provision of navigator services, such as Whānau Ora, to assist in connecting with multiple agencies. (pg 59) and expansion of regional commissioning of the Whānau Ora model (pg 65).
“We are delighted to read in the report, such strong endorsement of the Whānau Ora approach,” said Ms Leahy.
“By incorporating tikanga, kawa, and whanaungatanga into practices, whānau self-management and well-being are encouraged. A healing process that converts crises for individuals into whānau resilience and capability is the aim. Whānau Ora commissioning agencies have prioritised services that help whānau realise their own aspirations and attain their own outcome goals rather than focusing only on goals chosen by services (pg 86).
“We are very pleased to see such strong endorsement of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies as possible options for future contractual agreements (pg 87) as well as the call for local hubs, like Whānau Ora entities, which can offer the full spectrum of early interventions and support opportunities (pg 94).
“The message from whānau is resounding. “For whānau, Whānau Ora approaches, Kaupapa Māori services and Pacific-led services are strongly preferred. They are fully inclusive of whānau and value relationships as strongly as medicine” (pg 167).
The report concludes that the review see models such as Whānau Ora commissioning and service provision as pointing the way, tackling the social determinants of health and providing wrap-around support earlier, in the community and closer to home (pg 100). It advocates that if we are to take a broader lens to people’s wellbeing, we must focus on ‘prevention as intervention’ and enable closer relationships with Kaupapa Māori providers and Whānau Ora navigators (pg 125).
“This is a very important document,” said Ms Leahy. “It provides a key benchmark for understanding current responses and a blueprint for Whakawātea te Ara, clearing the pathways that will lead to improved Māori health and well-being. We look forward to working closely with government and related health sector agencies, in implementing the findings of the review.”