Te Aka Whai Ora is excited to implement $20.6M funding for kaiāwhina roles as part of the newly introduced comprehensive care teams to enable a preventative and proactive approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of whānau.   

This is part of funding that was announced by Minister of Health, Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall for the next two years to introduce comprehensive primary care teams. This includes four new roles of kaiāwhina, care co-ordinators, physiotherapists, pharmacists and in some rural areas, paramedics.

Whilst there are many kaiāwhina and community support roles across health and social services, in this case, kaiāwhina will be a newly introduced workforce to strengthen primary, community and rural care. 

Te Aka Whai Ora Chief Executive Riana Manuel says that kaiāwhina are a trusted member of their communities and will help Māori and Pacific whānau navigate the health system and access the supports they need.

“Whānau want to receive services that are accessible, affordable, and more reflective of our world view,” says Riana.

“This is an opportunity to diversify and develop a workforce whose skills and cultural competencies reflect the needs of their communities.”

Te Aka Whai Ora will directly fund new kaiāwhina roles, to be employed by hauora Māori partners, and Te Whatu Ora Pacific Commissioning team will fund new kaiāwhina roles through Pacific health providers.

Kaiāwhina training will be a priority, with an additional $4.9M allocated for workforce development.  There is also an opportunity to transition and utilise the workforce formed during the COVID response. 

“We are very clear that this is not the solution to the workforce challenges facing primary care, but it will provide more frontline capacity to focus on things like early detection, early interventions and hospital avoidance at the local level,” says Riana. 

“This is part of Te Aka Whai Ora wider strategy to build our workforce so that whānau can experience healthcare that looks like, feels like and reflects te ao Māori.”

Tipa Mahuta, Te Aka Whai Ora Chair acknowledges the successful partnership with Te Whatu Ora, to achieve the benefits described in Te Pae Tata, interim New Zealand Health Plan 2022.

“This is an example of our partnership in action to design and deliver services that are firmly grounded in kaupapa Māori” says Tipa.

“It also demonstrates the critical mahi that is underway to reform the health system – in this case to improve the access and range of care that whānau can receive at home and in the community.”