Te Whatu Ora, in partnership with Te Aka Whai Ora is implementing a $44M funding boost for primary, community and rural care in New Zealand over the next two years, to establish comprehensive primary care teams and build capacity in the workforce.   

Funding for additional roles will be introduced to health providers, bringing complimentary skills and capacity to improve the access and range of care that is delivered locally.  These will combine traditional primary care services with kaiāwhina, physiotherapists, pharmacists, care coordinators, and in some rural areas, paramedics.  

Funding for these roles will be prioritised to providers serving Māori, Pacific, and rural populations with complex needs and or limited access to primary healthcare services.   

Te Whatu Ora National Director Commissioning, Abbe Anderson says that this is one of the early actions within Te Pae Tata to reinforce the health system and prioritise the experiences of whānau and communities. 

“This initiative will see up to 193 additional frontline clinical team members introduced across the country to strengthen our primary care sector, so that we can focus on preventing illness and support good health at a local level,” says Abbe.   

“This is about improving access where it’s needed most and ensuring that services are accessible, affordable and appropriate for all communities.” 

Full comprehensive primary care teams will be established in all early localities and kaiāwhina roles will also be introduced across Counties Manukau, Northland, Auckland, Waitematā and Bay of Plenty regions. 

To support this, additional funding of $4.9M will be allocated for the training and development of the newly created kaiāwhina workforce, to be jointly administered between Te Aka Whai Ora and Te Whatu Ora’s Pacific Commissioning team.   

“We are embarking on a programme of work that will support Māori and Pacific whānau to stay well, and experience services that are whānau-centred and culturally aligned - the kaiāwhina role will play a huge part in this,” says Abbe. 

“This is an example of how we are sharing decision-making and resources with Te Aka Whai Ora to not only support and grow a strong Māori health workforce, but to invest more meaningfully in services that will make a difference.”