In New Zealand, Māori are entitled to the same level of well- being experienced by non- Māori citizens. However, disparities between the two populations are evident. In 2010, a new public policy approach to health and social service delivery was announced: one underpinned by Māori values, and which ostensibly provided the Crown with another mechanism to reduce health and social well- being disparities. The whānau (family) centred approach seeks to achieve the goal of “whānau- ora” (well- being of the extended family) and requires health services to work across traditional sector boundaries to improve client health.
This paper traces the emergence of Māori health service provision and the whänau ora phi- losophy that became the cornerstone of Māori health policy in the early 2000s. It discusses the implications for Māori health and social service providers of the latest iteration of the whānau ora approach to social service delivery, as outlined in the Whānau Ora Taskforce Report of 2010. By synthesising public management literature, examples from a local “whānau ora” model of service delivery, and findings from previous research conducted in the area of Māori health service provision, a number of observations as to the significance of this new policy approach are offered.