The head of the South Island’s Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency says the new Cabinet announced by Prime Minister Chris Hipkins yesterday is good news for Māori, with Peeni Henare retaining his spot as Minister of Whānau Ora, and Kiri Allan and Willie Jackson joining Kelvin Davis on the front bench.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Pouārahi Ivy Harper said Henare had provided a steady hand since being appointed Minister of Whānau Ora in 2017.

“In times like these, where whānau are still struggling and trying to readjust after three years of upheaval, stability is  important. It is reassuring to retain Minister Henare, who understands the importance of relationships, which allows us to continue working with whānau, hapū iwi, our Whānau Ora partners and other stakeholders to help deliver certainty and better outcomes for whānau here in Te Waipounamu.”

Harper said that while Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu appreciated the Government’s timely support during the pandemic, investment in Whānau Ora is not just about the here and now – nor should it be limited to one area of government.

“We have the evidence and we know a whānau-centred approach is key. We must continue to put whānau first and actively invest in their future, and to do that we need to ensure that whānau-centred approaches embedded in tikanga Māori are threaded right across government.”

To that end, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is committed to working with the ministers for portfolios including education, health and justice to create better outcomes for whānau throughout Te Waipounamu and indeed, Aotearoa.

Harper said the agency also wanted to acknowledge the appointments  of Willie Jackson (Minister for Broadcasting and Media and Minister for Māori Development) and Kiri Allan (Minister of Justice Minister for Regional Development) to the front bench as well as the hard work of Minister Nanaia Mahuta during her time as Local Government Minister.

We also acknowledge Te Tai Tonga MP, Rino Tirikatene who was appointed Minister for Courts and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth in the Cabinet reshuffle .

“We recognise and appreciate the hard work of all our Māori MPs who are in there pushing for change to enable better outcomes and reduce inequity for all whānau.”


For media enquiries, please contact:

Nicola Coburn  – 021 2959 166