Evaluation of the Whānau ora HIA on the Maru Wehi Integrated Whānau Ora Centre Plan

This process and impact evaluation of the Whānau Ora Health Impact Assessment (WOHIA) on the Maru Wehi Integrated Whānau Ora Centre Plan (the centre plan) was prepared by Velma McClellan, Research & Evaluation Consultant.

The evaluation was conducted concurrently with the WOHIA. Data were gathered for the evaluation using a mix of methods that included: participant observation, workshop participants’ evaluation feedback, documentary analysis and interviews with 10 key stakeholders.

These evaluation findings show all five of the WOHIA’s objectives were met. The WOHIA report’s 22 recommendations will be used to inform and guide the continuing development, planning, and implementation of an Integrated Whānau Ora Centre Plan at the Maru Wehi site in New Plymouth over the next three years.

Key strengths of the WOHIA process included: the large turnout of stakeholders to both the scoping and appraisal hui; the high level of interest and engagement of hui participants in the WOHIA process; the facilitation and mentoring provided; its quality product, namely its literature review and WOHIA report; and the high level of TOL’s senior management buy-in to the WOHIA process itself.

The unanticipated drain the WOHIA placed on the WOHIA team’s capacity, particularly when it came time to prepare the WOHIA’s report was, from the WOHIA team’s perspective, the main constraint of the process.

The lack of a draft written plan, strategy, or policy is not typical of an HIA process. It proved quite challenging for the WOHIA’s facilitators and caused confusion among some of the WOHIA’s participants as a result of the recent politicisation of the Whānau ora concept. On the other hand, other participants’ appreciated that ‘nothing had been set in concrete’ and that their input was sought at the outset of the planning and development process.

The WOHIA on the centre plan is a good example of a WOHIA process that worked well. It is also shows the Ministry of Health’s Learning by Doing fund having been put to good use.

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