Manaaki Tangata is a new app being developed by hauora Māori partner Social Labour Supply, to support the health and wellbeing of whānau working or wanting to work in the construction industry.

Research suggests that construction workers are more than twice as likely than the rest of the Aotearoa workforce to die by suicide, with Māori men making up more than one-fifth of deaths. 

Manaaki Tangata aims to increase awareness of hauora and support services for construction workers in South and West Tāmaki Makaurau by sharing resources based on the Te Whare Tapa Whā health model (mental, physical, family, and spiritual health) and access to employment and training opportunities.

The app also provides whānau with a dedicated kaitautoko (mentor) for additional support they may require. Users will also be able to track their goals on the app and self-identify their moods to monitor wellbeing.

Kingi Kiriona, Maiaka Mātauranga Māori | Deputy Chief Executive Mātauranga Māori, Te Aka Whai Ora, says the Manaaki Tangata app will provide an accessible, inclusive, and culturally relevant user experience.

“Manaaki Tangata incorporates whanaungatanga (relationships and connections), manaakitanga (kindness and respect) and kotahitanga (unity) to support whānau in the construction industry who may be struggling.”

“It uses a mix of technology and kanohi-ki-te-kanohi support to develop, track and monitor whānau goals, and provide referrals to health and social services – if required and with permission.”

Social Labour Supply is a social enterprise working towards the goal of rewarding and sustainable employment Māori me ngā iwi katoa (everyone) in Aotearoa.

Its Kaihautū (Founder and Director), Courtenay Hurt-Suwan, says: “We have seen the struggles many face in the construction industry as a result of long hours, multiple worksites, high pressures, multiple risk factors for health, safety and wellbeing, and an old school culture of ‘harden up’ or ‘she’ll be right’.

“We hope that the Manaaki Tangata app gives whānau an outlet where they know they can receive support, without judgement.”

The app will first be trialled with a group of 50 participants currently working in construction or seeking employment. This is expected to take place in early 2024.