Whānau Ora

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Whānau Ora (Māori: family health) is a major contemporary indigenous health initiative in New Zealand driven by Māori cultural values. Its core goal is to empower communities and extended families (whānau) to support families within the community context rather than individuals within an institutional context.

Whānau Ora evolved out of the coalition between the National and Māori parties after the 2008 general election[1][2] and became a cornerstone of the coalition agreement between them after the 2011 general election.[3][4] Te Puni Kōkiri, (the Ministry for Māori Development), states that:

Whānau Ora is an inclusive approach to providing services and opportunities to whānau across New Zealand. It empowers whānau as a whole, rather than focusing separately on individual whānau members and their problems.[5]

Tariana Turia was the Minister Responsible for Whānau Ora in the 50th New Zealand Parliament.[6][7]

The Māori Party defines Whānau Ora at some length.[8]

Prior to the health initiative, Whānau Ora was the name of the Māori health awards.[9]


The programme has been criticised for having hard to define and impossible to measure specific outputs;[10][11][12] as well as a disproportionate amount of funding being spent in Turias' electorate.[13]

MP Winston Peters has been a vocal opponent of the program.[13][14]

The longest-established national Māori health organisation, the Māori Women’s Welfare League did not choose to participate in Whānau Ora, but some regional leaders are involved. The League operates a parenting skills course called Whanau Toko i te Ora which is unrelated to Whānau Ora.[15]


Many sources spell Whānau Ora without the macron for technical reasons.

  1. ^ "Q&A with Tariana Turia". nzherald.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. Our main focus is on whanau ora - the well being of family and what it takes to make them well, healthy, independent, standing on their own two feet. 
  2. ^ "Govt showing interest in Maori-style social services". nzherald.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. National Party ministers appear to implicitly support Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia's plan to bundle multiple contracts for Maori health, education, housing, justice and social services into integrated 'Whanau Ora' contracts covering the whole spectrum of services for regional groups of Maori whanau. 
  3. ^ "Nats and Maori Party sign". nzherald.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. Developing Whanau Ora, a Ministerial Committee on Poverty and a new focus for Te Puni Kokiri are the centre-pieces of the National Party-Maori Party confidence and supply agreement. 
  4. ^ "Nats-Maori deal to help poor". nzherald.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. Develop a stand-alone commissioning agency for whanau ora in the next 12 months. 
  5. ^ "Whānau Ora". tpk.govt.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Big promotions ahead in today's Cabinet reshuffle". nzherald.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. Tariana Turia as Minister Responsible for Whanau Ora, Minister for Disability Issues, Associate Minister of Health and Associate Minister of Housing. 
  7. ^ Andrea Vance. "Taria's Lack Of Accountability Over Whanau Ora Personifies...". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  8. ^ "Maori Party | Whānau Ora". maoriparty.org. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. Whānau-ora: restoring the essence of who we are; putting the vibrant traditions from our people at the heart of our whānau [dead link]
  9. ^ "Whānau Ora Awards". maorihealth.govt.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. The Whānau Ora Awards promote successful models of service delivery or initiatives that increase whānau health and wellbeing by building on the strengths and assets of whānau and Māori communities. 
  10. ^ "What is Whanau Ora? « The Standard". thestandard.org.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. I have a sinking feeling that this is all just a scam. I fear that interjecting themselves between public service providers and the public is just a way for Turia’s buddies to clip the ticket, grabbing some taxpayer dosh without delivering anything of real value to the people in need. The complete failure of anyone to show what precisely Whanau Ora is and how it will deliver a net benefit to the people it is intended for only deepens my suspicion that it is all a scam. 
  11. ^ "Families Commissioner struggles with whanau ora". stuff.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "Whanau Ora: the unanswered questions". stuff.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. OPINION: With her Whanau Ora scheme last week, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia unveiled a genuine magic trick. That is, a new system that will socialise and privatise the delivery of social services in this country, and do both at once. 
  13. ^ a b Kate Chapman And John Hartevelt. "Peters demands apology over Whanau Ora row". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  14. ^ Tracy Watkins (2012-11-27). "Whanau Ora overstayer claims". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  15. ^ "MWWL chose not to be Whanau Ora provider". radionz.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011.