What is Whānau Ora?

Whānau Ora is a culturally-based approach to wellbeing that focusses on the Māori concept of whānau. The family group (whānau) are considered as a whole and not just the individual.

Whānau Ora is about confidence, mana and the belief in self, family and community. Where whānau are viewed as assets being developed and not problems to be fixed.

Whānau are the decision-makers who identify what they need to build on their strengths and achieve their aspirations. It works with the collective and whānau capability to reach better outcomes (positive change) in areas such as health, education, housing, employment, improved standards of living and cultural identity.

Whānau Ora is delivered on a foundation of Whakawhānaungatanga, building meaningful relationships. These relationships are based on trust, shared experiences, and are mutually responsive and respectful.


Shifting the focus from ‘services for individuals’ to ‘services for whānau/families’ takes a more holistic view of wellbeing. Adaptive and responsive, it recognises the complex needs and issues of whānau and provides access to integrated care and support for them. Whānau can move through crisis and into planning for future success, success as determined by them.

Placing whānau at the centre allows those who are often disempowered to determine what success is to them and become self-managing. It provides for the recognition and freedom to realise the inherent potential within whānau and communities encouraging them to develop their solutions and build their capability and resilience.

Delivery by Whānau Ora Partners

Delivering Whānau Ora through Non-Government Organisation’s means decision-making happens free from the overly risk-adverse and micro-management of government. Community-based Whānau Ora Partners sit in the communities they serve. They can leverage off local knowledge and adapt to local issues, allowing for local innovative and adaptive ideas and solutions to grow.

Whānau Ora provides specialised staff who act as Navigators and advocate for whānau. They work with whānau to find the services and support needed. The whānau-centred, rather than service-centred, design of Whānau Ora allows for integrated care and support when multiple and complex obstacles stand in the way of whānau development.

An extensive network of Whānau Ora Partners throughout Aotearoa enables reach into communities of highest need.

Māori solutions for Māori issues

Māori are over-represented in negative health, wellbeing and economic statistic. Whānau Ora targets Māori (by default) and allows them to provide solutions co-designed by them. This way sustained change is more likely as everyone has a stake in success.

Te Pou Matakana - our added value

How we invest – funding what works for whānau using an outcomes framework Continually informed by ongoing research and evaluation our Outcomes Framework allows for meaningful measurement of whānau outcomes. Measuring outcomes occur across a range of domains – from health and education to cultural vitality.

A roadmap is used to implement, in practice, specific outcome measurements for whānau across all activities. The Roadmap provides a set of tools and processes to collect the data needed, from the ground up, to prove that we are having the impact intended and to improve outcomes for whānau.

Our leading software provider collects data and provides a cutting-edge interface for Kaimahi. They ensure outcomes can be and are measured. What Whānau need sits at the heart of Whānau Ora Partner’s technology roadmaps.

Continually improving solutions that deliver interface for Kaiārahi, help them to reflect their work with whānau. Partners are provided with integrated technology capabilities and tools to track and measure whānau progress towards their outcomes.

Understanding our return on investment

Using an internationally recognised Social Return on Investment method means we can understand and measure the broader value created by our organisation-wide activities carried out for whānau.

Dame Tariana Turia on Whānau Ora “To know ourselves, our strengths, our challenges and chart our own course.”