The concept of whānau ora is about supporting Māori families to achieve their maximum health and wellbeing.
Whānau ora is driven by a focus on whānau being self-managing, living healthy lifestyles and confidently participating in te ao Māori and in society. It is a key element of pae ora and is an important part of setting the foundations for healthy futures.
Each whānau is different and has a unique set of aspirations. To achieve whānau ora, the health system will work in a way that acknowledges these aspirations and the central role that whānau play for many Māori, as a principal source of strength, support, security and identity.
The health system can make a significant contribution to helping whānau to achieve these aspirations, particularly those related to their health and wellbeing. Whānau ora has been retained in He Korowai Oranga because it resonated strongly with the health and disability sector over the last decade and has led to some significant gains.
He Korowai Oranga: Māori Health Strategy (2002)
The 2002 version of He Korowai Oranga focused on the achievement of whānau ora, or healthy families.
Whānau ora and Te Puni Kōkiri
Since the Whānau Ora Taskforce reported to the Government in 2010, the whānau ora approach has increasingly become a feature of work across government. The work of the Whānau Ora Taskforce informed a programme of work led by Te Puni Kōkiri to support whānau to build their capacity and capability, and empower whānau to determine their own aspirations and take control of their own futures. This work evolved to include the establishment of 3 whānau ora commissioning agencies to purchase a range of whānau-centred initiatives at a local level.
Working with Te Puni Kōkiri to support these initiatives is one way that the health and disability sector can support whānau ora, but it is certainly not the only way. As the work of the commissioning agencies grows, the health and disability sector will need to continue to consider how it can go about its business in a way that empowers whānau to achieve their own aspirations relating to health and wellbeing.