Whānau Ora receives boost in funding to continue support following COVID-19

By Heta Gardiner, Jessica Tyson

Whānau Ora is one of the major winners for Māori in the 2020 Budget announced today, after being offered a major boost in funding.

Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare says the government is providing Whānau Ora with a further $136mil to continue to deliver the support whānau need on the ground and in the communities following the impact of COVID-19.

This is a significant increase from last year when Whānau Ora was offered $80mil over four years as part of the 2019 Wellbeing Budget.

Henare says this new funding will be made available for different purposes across the current and the next two financial years “as we work together to understand the full impact of COVID-19 on our whānau”.

Henare says health and wellbeing was the first priority when the impact of COVID-19 hit the country, and that is why an extra $19 million was allocated to Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies as the country moved into Alert level 4.

“Whānau Ora moved swiftly and effectively, delivering over 122,000 care packages and supporting close to 160,000 whānau in response to the effects of COVID 19.”

Manawatū iwi organisations find unique ways to support whānau during lockdown - April 30, Tapatahi 

On March 22 $56mil was committed to Māori communities as part of the Government’s $500mil to strengthen our health service to fight COVID-19.  

The majority of it, $45 million, went to support Whānau Ora, and a tailored health response for our communities during lockdown says Henare.

CEO of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency John Tamihere will be pleased to hear the announcement today after recently requesting more support.

“Any Crown money and government money that goes into any project, Māori must have a participatory right of no less than 30 per cent,” he said on Tapatahi in April.

During the interview, he called for more support to continue supporting whānau following the impact of COVID-19.

“To do that we're going to have to continue to deliver and upgrade from hygiene packs to kai packs pretty soon.”

Whānau Ora food and medical supplies arrive in Ōtangarei - March 31, Te Ao

Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha has also praised iwi around the country in how they have supported their people throughout the lockdown with the help of services like those linked to Whānau Ora.

“Their iwi leadership has been nothing short of inspirational. The way that they’ve stepped out, the way that they’ve looked after their communities, the way that they’ve protected the safety of kaumātua and their pakeke inside of small communities," he says.

“I’m just absolutely encouraged by what I’ve seen and the aroha that’s been shown right across the board has been absolutely excellent to watch.”