Whānau Ora at the heart of the Wellbeing Budget


Health is a state of body.   Wellness is a state of being.

There has been a lot said about the so-called Wellbeing budget this week.

To my mind, wellbeing is just the English name for Whānau Ora.

Wellbeing is about the fullness of life; flourishing in the essence of our identity.  It should be about realising of our aspirations; being poised to explore and develop our potential.  Wellbeing is found in identity, connection and belonging. Wellbeing is immersed in our environment – our rivers, mountains, lakes.   It is heard in the waiata; expressed in our stories, understood in that sense of togetherness which doesn’t need words.

To this end, no policy or programme or budget will ever come close to defining and interpreting the demonstration of wellbeing in living the best life.

But it was nevertheless a great day on Budget Day to be in the Beehive theatre to hear:

  • $80 million boost for Whānau Ora

  • More support for te reo Māori and Pacific languages

  • Kaupapa Māori approach to tackling reoffending

  • Investing $56 million to unlock whenua Māori

“Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare says the independent review of Whānau Ora highlights important opportunities to develop the programme into the future.

The Wellbeing Budget commits $80 million over four years to expand the coverage and impact of Whānau Ora. This provides greater support to whānau, improves localised decision-making and accountability.   This will provide local options that better serve the specific needs and aspirations of whānau, and further develops the skills and capabilities of Whānau Ora navigators.

“My vision for Whānau Ora is that it is adequately resourced to support whānau to achieve their aspirations, that it is appropriately supported across government agencies, and that whānau are able to play a key role in local decision-making regarding Whānau Ora support,” Peeni Henare says.

Ivy Harper, Helen Leahy, with GPL board member, Donovan Clarke, at the Budget lockup

Ivy Harper, Helen Leahy, with GPL board member, Donovan Clarke, at the Budget lockup


Reaction to the 2019 Budget and opportunity to digest its gains over breakfast was the focus of a Child Poverty Action group event at which I spoke in Christchurch.

You can read my speech here.

Meanwhile in Wellington, Ivy Harper was attending a post-Budget breakfast hosted by the Minister for Maori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.

:Ivy Harper and Hinerangi Barr (Ngāi Tahu)

:Ivy Harper and Hinerangi Barr (Ngāi Tahu)

Dame Hon Tariana Turia and Te Ripowai Higgins (Tuhoe)

Dame Hon Tariana Turia and Te Ripowai Higgins (Tuhoe)


A major highlight in Budget 2019 was the investment for children in state care: $1.1b boost in operating costs for Oranga Tamariki over four years.   I was particularly happy to see the commitment to kairaranga and the iwi family group conference coordinators, as well as the introduction of new whānau care partnerships with iwi and Māori organisations.

Pictured below: a recent visit by Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive Grainne Moss to the rohe of Arowhenua, hosted by Upoko Te Wera Kingi; Lavinia Reihana-Moemate and our own Iwi Liaison manager, Michelle Turrall.


Home is where the heart is

Research by the University of Otago found that chronically homeless people have high mental health needs. It found that in the five years before being housed, 390 people seen by the People's Project in Hamilton had spent a total of 10,000 bed nights in mental health facilities – that’s about a month per person. They were also given 55,000 prescriptions, most commonly for anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medicines.

Budget 2019 invests $197 million over four years into Housing First, which will fund 1,044 new places.    We hope that the amazing work being undertaken by Maree Hansen at Purapura Whetu in Christchurch, in connecting whānau with whare will able to be supported by this new injection of funding.   Here she is with Matua Tawa – who has recently shifted into a brand new Housing New Zealand home.

Mana in Mahi – Strength in Work


The Wellbeing Budget provides a $49.9 million boost for Mana in Mahi, extending the places available for participants from 150 up to 2,000.   Through Mana in Mahi employers receive a wage subsidy equivalent to the annual Jobseeker Support rate and support for work-readiness or pre-employment costs, if needed.

This week, Pari Hunt and I were in Dunedin to discuss some possible options for supporting rangatahi into work with Chris Rosenbrock and Maria Russell of Aukaha.



Originates from kia kaha, au kaha - Unite, bind together.    Two men engaged in lashing, would say "kia kaha" so he pushed the line through and then as both pulled together the other would say "au kaha" (Beattie 1920b)

It is a good phrase to encourage people to unite and bind/work together.

While there, we also caught up on Tumai Ora Whānau Services which supports whānau across East and North Otago encompassing the Moeraki and Huirapa Rūnaka rohe, Waitati, Purakanui and the Waitaki Valley.

Tumai Ora loosely translates as 'taking a stand for the best'. Tumai Ora is about fostering accessibility to service delivery and help to build greater relationships with health and social services in the Otago area.  We had a great kōrero – with hardly a moment to catch our breath, such was the passion and the energy of their vision for making a difference in Ōtepoti.


On Wednesday night Maania Farrar and I were participating in a ‘speed-meet’ at ARA in Christchurch.   We did our best to :

  • Connect with Ara work-ready students in their final year of study to help them practice marketing themselves for industry opportunities

  • Raise our profile at Ara and potential opportunities, while

  • Networking with other businesses.

Foraging with Ngā Pakiaka

This weekend a wānanga will be held at Kapara Te Hau and Te Karaka (Marfell's Beach and Cape Campbell) which is an area steeped with Māori history and early stories of our tupuna. The wananga is following on their Wave 8 theme of Mahinga kai/Maara Kai. 

Kapara Te Hau itself takes its name from an early tupuna, Te Hau, who came here from Hawaiki with his two friends Uenuku and Maukatere, in search of the mist maiden, Hinepukohurangi.  In the children's book that Ngā Pakiaka released in 2018, 'The Footsteps of Uenuku', Maukatere stayed behind with their waka at Rakautara on the Kaikoura Coast, Uenuku went inland and climbed a nearby peak, now known as Tapuaue-o-uenuku and Te Hau settled the coastal area that is now known commonly as 'Lake Grassmere', where he began to grow the kumara vines that he brought with him from Hawaiki.  Although Lake Grassmere is the modern English name for this area, our people know it as 'Kaipara Te Hau', or 'The Gardens of Te Hau', not to be confused with 'Kapara Te Hau'.

Local purakau goes on to tell of how famed Polynesian explorer, Kupe, discovered Te Hau's kumara gardens during his journeys and attempted to raid them.  This resulted in a great battle between Te Hau and Kupe where both characters were said to have resorted to using karakia to manipulate the elements against one another.  Te Hau managed to get the upper hand in this battle and Kupe was forced to retreat on his waka, due to a mighty earthquake summoned by Te Hau during this battle. But as he escaped, Kupe conjured a huge Tsunami which flooded Te Hau's gardens creating what is now known as Lake Grassmere. 

Prior to being transformed into New Zealand's largest and salt producing facility, this area was an important traditional mahinga kai for our people, rich in foods such as tuna and patiki as well as in modern times for introduced species such as ducks and swan eggs.  Likewise for the beach area nearby spanning south to Te karaka (Cape Campbell), which continues to this day to be a popular food gathering spot for our whanau.  With the exception of paua which currently has a rahui placed on it, all other kaimoana is available here and it is because of the above reasons, both the history and the mahinga kai that Nga Pakiaka felt that it was the ideal location for the purpose of our upcoming wananga.

The current plan is to meet at Ukaipo on Saturday 9 am.  From there they will travel to Kapara Te Hau, but will be stopping to hear the korero about several places along the way.  Canterbury foraging expert, Melany Wright and number of other whanau foragers/divers will run several workshops about identifying some of the wild foods in the area.  This will be ranging from the various seaweeds, shellfish, fish and plant species both commonly and uncommonly known to many of us.  From there they will be travelling back to Ukaipo where whanau will have a chance to learn how to prepare some of the foods that were collected during the day.  Finally, a semiformal dinner will start around 6 pm to wrap the day off and they will be presenting a tokotoko to one of our kaumatua in recognition and respect of the service they have provided to the Maori community over the years.

As part of their self-sustainability plan for the future, Nga Pakiaka is planning to launch an e-commerce site that will be available from website - www.npmotw.org.nz.  From there they intend to offer a range of products to their audience most of which are the efforts of whanau members or other local Te Putahitanga initiatives.  They currently have interest from three other partners in Te Tauihu Taonga (Lewis and Sophie Smith), Kumuhore Kanuka Products (Lee Mason and Sarah Wichman) and Big House Honey (Tamara Acott, Erica Mason and Rina Pinker).  All three of these initiatives have been invited to do a short presentation about their products to the 60+ guest who are attending the day/evening. The point of this is not only to enjoy the successes of one another's initiatives but to also help promote each other by joining together as a whanau network.  

Nga Pakiaka foraging 2.jpg
Nga Pakiaka - Foraging.jpg

Section 27 cultural reports

On Monday night we had people from as far away as Waihōpai and Arowhenua travel to join us in understanding how best to write a cultural report (section 27).

Some comments from some of the participants are worthy highlighting

They were both overwhelmed with manaaki shown by you and the attendees. It is the first time either had been to a hui and experienced our culture. They both can now see the serious issues our people have in court. They have both committed to being more aware with Māori when they are in their courts.

Due to demand, we will be taking the section 27 workshop South – keep an eye out for the pānui.


Kia hiwa rā!  Kia hiwa rā!

Do you have tamariki/mokopuna in your care?  Do you want to know more about Kaitiaki wānanga available for caregivers of tamariki/mokopuna?  Are you an iwi social service or service provider who is interested in learning more about the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, section 396?     Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu in partnership with Te Roopū Awhina and Tui Kereru Training Ltd invite you to an information roadshow to grow knowledge and access to:

  1. Kaitiaki wānanga (training for caregivers of tamariki/mokopuna); and

  2. The process Iwi social and community services and Whānau Ora entity take when applying for section 396 Approval of iwi social services, cultural social services, and child and family support services.

The roadshow will be held in two sessions.  The first session is for iwi social services and service providers interested in learning more about section 396.  The second session is for whānau who are caregivers or are interested in becoming caregivers of tamariki/mokopuna.



It was really heartening in Budget 2019 to see the respect accorded to Whānau Ora Navigators, for their passion, their hard work and their tautoko to families.  

This week Serena and Kahutane have been on the road again from Alexandra to Hokitika.


Path Training at Poutini Waiora in Hokitika

Save the date Otepoti 30 June_MH.JPG

PATH training at Uruuruwhenua health in Alexandra central Otago. 

Luke EganComment