Iwi working together for benefit of all Te Waipounamu families

Better support and opportunities for all Te Waipounamu (South Island) families is the goal of the region’s new Whānau Ora commissioning agency, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu.

The appointment of the new Te Waipounamu commissioning agency was announced yesterday by the Minister for Whānau Ora, Tariana Turia.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has been established by the nine iwi of Te Waipounamu in an historic bid to work together to improve the lives of all whānau.

“The nine iwi firmly believe that Whānau Ora is the best way to help whānau to reach their full potential and, with this new initiative, we believe we can build on the existing programme,” says Tā Mark Solomon, Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

“In our new way of working we will be taking into account the full spectrum of issues that can impact on family life, from health and housing, to employment and education. Whānau Ora is about recognising and building on the strengths that all whānau have and to enable them to identify and achieve their dreams and aspirations.”

“The exciting aspect of this new initiative is that the commissioning agency is empowered and encouraged to support innovation within agencies that are supporting our whānau,” Tā Mark says.

A partnership, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, is being established to manage the Whānau Ora contract. It will be governed by a small independent board which is appointed by representatives of each of the iwi and will be appointed on the basis of skills, expertise and commitment to kaupapa Māori.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu refers to the convergence of the rivers of Te Waipounamu bringing sustenance to the people and reflects the founding value of whanaungatanga.

The nine iwi of Te Waipounamu are Ngāti Apa, Rangitāne, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Tama ki Te Tau Ihu, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Rarua and Ngāi Tahu.