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Whanau-centred Health & Social Service Delivery

April 08, 2013 at 9:12 AM

Amohia Boulton, Jennifer Tamehana, and Tula Brannelly, MAI Journal: A New Zealand Journal of Indigenous Scholarship, published by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2013, 18-32. 

Full article available here

Read the associated press release here.


In New Zealand, Mäori are entitled to the same level of well- being experienced by non- Mäori citizens. However, disparities between the two populations are evident. In 2010, a new public policy approach to health and social service delivery was announced: one underpinned by Mäori values, and which ostensibly provided the Crown with another mechanism to reduce health and social well- being disparities. The whänau (family) centred approach seeks to achieve the goal of “whänau- ora” (well- being of the extended family) and requires health services to work across traditional sector boundaries to improve client health. This paper traces the emergence of Mäori health service provision and the whänau ora philosophy that became the cornerstone of Mäori health policy in the early 2000s. It discusses the implications for Mäori health and social service providers of the latest iteration of the whänau ora approach to social service delivery, as outlined in the Whänau Ora Taskforce Report of 2010. By synthesising public management literature, examples from a local  “whänau ora” model of service delivery, and findings from previous research conducted in the area of Mäori health service provision, a number of observations as to the signifi cance of this new policy approach are offered.

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