Māori disability support services

The Ministry of Health is one of the agencies providing support and services for disabled people. Some Māori provider organisations offer services for Māori and non-Māori disabled people using a kaupapa Māori approach.

Whāia Te Ao Mārama: The Māori Disability Action Plan

Whāia Te Ao Mārama: Māori Disability Action Plan 2012 to 2017 aims to enable Māori disabled to achieve their aspirations, and to reduce barriers that may impede Māori disabled and their whānau from gaining better outcomes.

Services for Māori

The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s founding document and the Government acknowledges its obligations as a Treaty partner. The Māori philosophy towards health is based on a wellness or holistic health model. The Ministry of Health recognises that services for Māori should be based on Māori thinking and behaviour and recognises Māori ways of healing, care, and rehabilitation.

The Ministry of Health funds a range of disability support services for people (mostly aged under 65 years) who have been assessed as having a physical, intellectual or sensory disability (or combination of these) that is likely to continue for a minimum of 6 months; resulting in a reduction of independent function; and that require ongoing support. Some of these services are offered by Māori providers or other organisations offering services specifically for Māori.

Several key documents set out the specific needs and requirements of Māori who use health services.

Many organisations are contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide services for disabled Māori. For more information refer to our Māori Health Provider Directory.


Accessible marae enable Māori to participate and play their part in society. Te Roopu Tīaki Hunga Hauā Māori Disability Network Group has produced Te Whakaaheitanga Marae – Kua wātea te huarahi, a resource which aims to enable ‘kaumātua and whānau with health and disability impairments to actively engage at marae and remain effective contributors to their marae’. This resource is available on Kāpō Māori Aotearoa (Ngāti Kāpō)’s website.

Marae need to demonstrate that their facilities, including access to car parks and ablutions, are fully accessible to Māori who are deaf, blind or have mobility issues. Natural hazards should be able to be easily identified. The kaumātua can testify that the facilities, kawa and tikanga of the marae enable access to Māori who have a disability of any kind. There are guidelines on what things need to be in place when meeting with a disabled person/people on the Office of Disability Issues website. Also note that some marae have day services and special arrangements may need to be made for overnight hui.

Marae contact information is available through Takoa (National Māori database for Māori resources) or in the national and local telephone directory.

In this section

  • Information on the external advisors supporting the implementation of Whāia Te Ao Mārama: The Māori Disability Action Plan and advising the Ministry on issues that affect Māori disabled. Read more
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