Whānau as First Navigators

Whānau as First Navigators is a belief that all whānau have the innate ability, derived from their whakapapa and tūpuna, to be the leaders and navigators of their own journeys towards their aspirations and wellbeing. To enable this belief, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu are facilitating an operational programme that aims to strengthen whānau wellbeing, with a focus on early prevention through the following four workstreams:


We’re launching a Whānau Awareness Campaign which aims to build public awareness of tamariki and whānau wellbeing, share knowledge with whānau and promote services to improve access to supports that enable whānau to lead themselves on their own wellbeing journeys.

Early Support

We’re prototyping a Whānau Interaction Hub which will provide early support, information and advice to whānau who are seeking services and guidance. The design and development of the hub will be informed by rangatahi, whānau and key partners.

Provider Services

We’re helping to grow and strengthen accredited Ngāi Tahu and Mātawaka social service providers, to build on the work they are already doing to support whānau. This will also involve creating new innovative ways of working to meet the needs and aspirations of whānau.

Over the coming months we’ll be promoting providers so you can get directly in touch with them should you need some help on your journey.

Professional and culturally competent practitioners

We’re looking to engage with departments and organisations at a national level across the broader care and protection system who are responsible for monitoring, to ensure appropriate systems and processes are in place to monitor cultural competence.

Get in touch with us at [email protected] for more information.

Nurture Your Hauora

From sharing kai with whānau; going for a hīkoi (walk) solo or with friends; reading a good book; playing touch rugby with neighbours; singing waiata and telling whānau stories; heading out fishing; completing breathing exercises; or ensuring there’s end-of-day whānau “debrief” and connection time.

Or tackling something bigger like learning te reo Māori; taking up a new hobby or sport; connecting or reconnecting with our rūnanga, whānau members, or old friends; getting into the garden; completing online yoga videos; or starting a new whānau tradition.

There are many things we can do to strengthen our hauora (wellbeing) and boost the way we feel and think.


What is Whānau as First Navigators? What does Whānau as First Navigators do? We've compiled a list of answers for the most frequently asked questions. If you have further pātai, please contact us on [email protected].

Service Providers

The Whānau as First Navigators team has formal relationships with nine accredited Ngāi Tahu and kaupapa Māori health and social service providers across the takiwā.

The team is working with the providers to help them grow, strengthen, and build on the prevention and early intervention mahi they already do to support whānau in their communities.