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Advancing equity with a return to Māori Systems

‘Pae Ora encourages everyone in the health and disability system, as contributors to Māori wellbeing, to work collaboratively, to think beyond narrow definitions of health and provide high-quality and effective health services.’

- Whakamaua, the Māori Health Action Plan 2020-2025.


Healthy Families NZ already operates in ways that Pae Ora is seeking to achieve. This includes an intentional and explicit focus on improving Māori health and health equity for groups at risk of preventable chronic disease.


The return to Māori systems creates space for our Healthy Families NZ locations to mobilise existing mātauranga that already exists within communities.


In late 2022, Te Amo Pūtoro, a māra hūpara (Māori Playground) was unveiled in Kerikeri, with support from Healthy Families Far North. A co-designed and community-led space, Te Amo Pūtoro aims to whakamana pūrākau, narratives and stories of Ngāti Rēhia to bring a deeper meaning to activities and tākaro Māori.


In Tamaki Makaurau, our Healthy Families South Auckland whānau at The Southern Initiative are backboning the development of new community food hubs. Working with Ngāti Tamaoho (mana whenua) and Papatūānuku Kokiri Marae (māta waka), the team helped develop the Expression of Interest process to be centered around tikanga Māori and mātauranga Māori, with focus on lived experience and kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) partnerships.


Ōpōtiki Taku Hīkoi is led by the Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board and Ōpōtiki District Council and is designed to elevate Mātauranga Māori by creating 12 pou whakairo placed along the Motu trails. Each of the 6 hapu from the area will be represented, with their unique pūrakau (stories) and whakapapa shared alongside the pou. To then align the pou with the stars, Healthy Families East Cape Rautaki Māori Jade Kameta supported wānanga and design workshops with Te Whakatōhea master caver Troy Hart-Webb and Waikato University computer science design technician students. With the overall aim to embed and elevate mātauranga Māori into the initiative, as well as increase community participation. In Whanganui, Te Kāhui o Te Kākano, a Rangatahi Innovation Kaupapa, was set up to explore how greater connection to mātauranga Māori, te taiao and increased life skills, grows young peoples health and wellbeing. The group used maramataka as a way to engage rangatahi in an alternative and traditional mātauranga framework for self-managing their health journey. The group saw patterns of behaviour change align to the maramataka, which were tracked with the rangatahi who leaned into the new learnings and insights of how traditional systems are applied in their worlds today.


The Healthy Families NZ location teams are actively working alongside communities in order to create the change needed for better health and wellbeing. The design of the Healthy Families NZ initiative ensures Māori are prioritised and enables greater ownership, voice and influence. This mindset is proving critical to leading, modelling and supporting Māori health and equity.

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