Contracts have been issued to 40 community-based hauora Māori partners as part of the Kahu Taurima programme to deliver Te Ao Māori Models of Care and other initiatives that will improve maternity and early years services for māma, pēpi and whānau.

Kahu Taurima is the joint approach between Te Aka Whai Ora and Te Whatu Ora on maternity and early years – pre-conception to five years old, or the first 2000 days of life – for all families in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In July, the Government announced $74 million of funding over the next two years for Kahu Taurima, an overarching programme and strategy for change, integration and eventual transformation of maternity and early years, which will be delivered over a number of years.

As part of this funding, hauora Māori partners across the country will develop Te Ao Māori Models of Care for maternity, child growth and development, and deliver a range of initiatives including developing telehealth pathways, a maternal mental health and wellbeing assessment tool, strengthening the Māori midwifery and child growth development nursing workforce, and developing educational programmes.

Many of these initiatives are now in the co-design and testing phases with hauora Māori partners and whānau, as we work together to ensure that the voices of whānau are represented in designing new models of care and that services offered deliver on the needs of communities.

Te Aka Whai Ora Chief Midwifery Officer Heather Muriwai says after a Request for Proposal (RFP) process seeking initiatives that would improve the way maternity and early years services are delivered for whānau, it is exciting that the contracts have now been confirmed and the work is underway.

“This is an example of how Te Aka Whai Ora is increasing funding for kaupapa Māori services and solutions that serve our communities, support and grow our healthcare workforce, and prioritise the wellbeing and aspirations of whānau,” Heather says.

“Through its co-design approach, Kahu Taurima will work in a fundamentally different way to reconfigure services, enabling the shifts required to achieve a Tiriti-dynamic, culturally safe, whānau-centered and sustainable maternity and early years system.

“The new Te Ao Māori Models of Care will be intensified according to need and local aspirations to optimise child development, establishing the building blocks for a positive life course.”

Kahu Taurima is the promise of connected, wrap-around maternity and early services for all families in Aotearoa New Zealand, no matter where you live or who you are.

“This means that whānau will have an opportunity to receive easy to navigate, culturally affirming services that best suit their needs, that they are at the centre of how services are being shaped and delivered, and that they will have choices on what services best suit them.

“The vision is that the system will work for whānau – rather than them having to work to navigate the system – and that they will feel supported, valued and receive the care they need during the parenting journey.

“These positive shifts will support the system now and for generations to come.”

Kahu Taurima is a key priority of Te Pae Tata Interim New Zealand Health Plan, which sets out the first two years of action as we transform healthcare in Aotearoa.

As is set out in Te Pae Tata, the 2000 days between preconception and a child’s fifth birthday are critical to secure their future health and wellbeing.

“A healthy pregnancy and birth, good nutrition, low stress, and nurturing whānau relationships will have a profound impact on giving a child a great start to life, so that the aspirations we have for our mokopuna can be realised,” Heather says.

“Kahu Taurima will focus on our pēpi and tamariki, and provide support for strong, healthy, empowered whānau, who are well informed about their options of care.”