Whānau Ora Health Impact Assessment

The Whānau Ora Health Impact Assessment tool was published in April 2007 by the Ministry of Health and builds on the Public Health Advisory Committee’s, ‘A Guide to HIA: A Policy Tool for New Zealand’ (2005).

The Whānau Ora HIA tool follows the same methodology: Screening, Scoping, Appraisal and Reporting and Evaluation. It follows the same methodology: Screening, Scoping, Appraisal and Reporting and Evaluation.

It was developed for use by policy makers as a tool for assessing the positive and negative impact of their policies on Māori and to identify ways in which these could be enhanced or adapted. It complements other resources aimed at promoting Māori health including the Health Equity Audit Tool.

It was produced in response to the fact that the Māori population experiences significantly poorer health outcomes than the rest of New Zealand’s population and as a way to support delivery of the Ministry of Health’s strategic vision to improve health outcomes and reduce inequalities for Māori outlined in He Korowai Oranga: Māori Health Strategy 2002.

At the heart of the tool is the concept of ‘Whānau ora’, which means, ‘Māori families being supported to achieve their maximum health and well being’. Its overarching aim is to ensure equity in health for Māori.

When to use Whānau Ora HIA

This tool should be considered when the policy under development will affect Māori.

Whānau Ora HIA Training

During 2008 the Ministry of Health has developed and funded a Whānau Ora training programme across the country. This has consisting of 10 half day advocacy sessions and 5 two day training courses. These have been well attended with 130 people at the advocacy sessions alone.

The focus now is to build on the training to develop more examples of the tool in use, showing its added value to the decision-making process.

Whānau Ora HIAs conducted in New Zealand

The HIAs listed below can be viewed in the HIA evaluation reports section.


Northland DHB Prioritisation Policy Whānau Ora HIA
Northland DHB has undertaken a Whānau Ora Health Impact Assessment of its existing Prioritisation Policy, with a view to developing a new Prioritisation Policy.

Health Impact Assessment of the Cultural and Clinical Nursing Support and Training Programme
This Whānau Ora HIA assessed a proposal to establish a cultural and clinical nursing training and support programme which aims to assist the exchange of skills and expertise between specialist practitioner nurses from the DHB provider arm and specialist practitioner nurses working in the community.

Wiri Spatial Structure Plan HIA
A Health Impact Assessment was used to help gauge the impact of Spatial Structure Plan (SSP) for the Wiri area on people’s health and wellness and engage key stakeholders.

Draft Wairarapa Alcohol Strategy Whānau Ora HIA
A Whānau Ora HIA was conducted on the draft Wairarapa Alcohol Strategy (draft Strategy) during January to April 2010. Initiated by Wairarapa Public Health and funded by the Ministry of Health’s Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Learning by Doing Fund,

Maru Wehi Integrated Whānau Ora Centre Plan HIA
A Whānau ora Health Impact Assessment was undertaken on the Maru Wehi Hauora Integrated Whānau Ora Centre draft plan.


Wairarapa Non-fluoridation of water WOHIA
The Masterton urban water supply is the only water supply in the Wairarapa that is fluoridated and has been since the 1970’s. The water supply for Carterton and South Wairarapa District Council is not fluoridated. In 2008/09, Wairarapa Public Health received funding support to conduct an HIA on the impact on Whānau ora of not fluoridating water in South Wairarapa.


Whānau Ora Health Impact Assessment Rapid Appraisal - Location of the New Plymouth Oral Health Facility
A rapid Whānau Ora health impact assessment was carried out to assist Taranaki District Health Board decision makers with where to locate a four chair fixed ‘flagship/hub clinic’ oral health service in the New Plymouth area.


Whānau Ora Health Impact Assessment on the Ministry of Health’s Criteria for Capital Assistance for Small Drinking-water Supplies
In May 2005 the Government announced a fund to help improve drinking-water systems in New Zealand communities: the Drinking-Water Assistance Programme (DWAP) with two components; the Capital Assistance Programme (CAP), and the Technical Assistance Programme (TAP).

The DWAP aims to help suppliers to meet the requirements of the drinking-water standards and provide safe drinking-water. It will do this through the TAP, which helps suppliers to write water safety plans (formerly known as public health risk management plans) and to use these to improve the operation of their existing facilities. Capital assistance can then be made available for upgrading supplies to meet the standards, where the TAP has identified that this is needed.

The Criteria for Capital Assistance for Small Drinking-water Supplies discussion paper was released in June 2006 and submissions closed on 28 July 2006. The discussion paper provided background information on drinking-water supplies and waterborne illness in New Zealand and outlines the current drinking water assessment programme. It also proposed a number of criteria for determining whether a drinking water supplier is eligible to receive capital assistance to improve their supply system.

The discussion paper had four major questions that it was seeking feedback on:

  • Who should receive Capital Assistance Programme funding
  • What should the Capital Assistance Programme funding be used for?
  • How much funding should each eligible supply receive?
  • How useful is the deprivation index in assessing a community’s ability to pay?

The WOHIA tool was used to assess how each of the proposed criteria might impact on Māori wellbeing and on inequalities in the determinants of health. The outcomes of the WOHIA were used to inform the Ministry’s feedback on the discussion paper.

An evaluation of the Whānau Ora HIA guide: Informed via its use on the Ministry of Health’s Criteria for Capital Assistance for Small Drinking-water Supplies
The purpose of this evaluation is primarily to assist in the further development of the Whānau Ora HIA tool and secondarily to provide an indication of how effective the Whānau Ora HIA (WO HIA) has been at informing the Drinking water assistance programme: Criteria for Capital Assistance for Small Drinking-water Supplies discussion paper (Ministry of Health, 2006). This requires consideration of how the HIA was undertaken (a process evaluation), consideration of how the HIA may have informed the policy process (impact evaluation) and general commentary on the guidance provided with, and performance of the tool in a real-life situation.

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