Reforming our health system

The government created the necessary foundations to transform our health system by passing the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022 and making significant investment in the health sector in the 2022 Budget. These foundations involved establishing Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora.

Transforming the health sector will create a more equitable, accessible, cohesive and people-centred system. This will improve the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

This means a health system that more effectively:

  • meets the complex demands of a growing population
  • addresses the persistent inequalities experienced by Māori
  • ensures greater access, experience and outcomes for groups who have not been well-served by the system in the past – Māori, Pacific and disabled People
  • uses modern technology and develops new and innovative ways of working
  • focuses on keeping people, their whānau and their communities well and out of hospitals – not just caring for them when they get sick.

Five system shifts - the future of health

The video below, published in May 2022, explains the changes to New Zealand's health system.

These changes started in mid-2022 with the disestablishment of the District Health Boards (DHBs) and creation of Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora.

It also explains the five key areas where changing the health system over time will make the biggest difference for New Zealanders.

Video transcript


Some big changes are being made to New Zealand’s health system, so everyone gets the right healthcare, where and when they need it. Right now, that doesn’t happen for a lot of people. So, this year, things are starting to change.

The first step is two new health organisations to work alongside the Ministry of Health, the steward of the health system. Health New Zealand will coordinate health services across New Zealand, from local right through to national. The Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand will work in partnership to make health services work better for Māori.

And this is just the start. Over time, the way people are supported to stay healthy is going to get a lot better.

There are five key areas where change will make the biggest difference. 

First, the health system will ensure that Māori have a greater role in designing health services that better meet the needs of Māori. Māori communities will also play an important role in making sure our health services work for Māori, and the many New Zealanders accessing kaupapa Māori health services. And that will be better for everyone, because a health system that does better for Māori, does better for all.

Second, people will be able to get the healthcare they need closer to  home. Health services will better reflect  community needs and preferences. There will be a strong emphasis on preventing illnesses and other factors that support healthy lives, like whether they live in a warm, dry home.

Third, high quality emergency or specialist care will be available when people need it. Networks of doctors and other medical professionals will work together with community services to educate and keep people well, so fewer people need healthcare in the first place.

Fourth, digital technology will be used in more and better ways, to provide people with services in their homes, hapori and local communities. Technology will also help healthcare workers to better understand and support their patients.

And finally, we will plan for our future health workforce requirements, and provide for the training and development needs of New Zealand’s contemporary workforce of tomorrow,  so our healthcare workers  will always have the skills they need.

Achieving the vision for the future of health in Aotearoa New Zealand will not be easy, and it will take time. But it’s a future worth getting right.



E whanga mai ana ētahi panonitanga nui ki te pūnaha hauora o Aotearoa kia whai wāhi ai te katoa ki ngā whiwhinga hauora tika, i ngā wāhi me ngā wā e tika ana. He nui noa atu te hunga e kore nei e whakawhiwhia ana ki ēnei hua. Na reira, i tenei tau ka timata tatou ki te kite i etahi huringa.  

Ko te tuatahi, he whakatū i ngā wāhi mahi hauora hou e rua – ko Hauora Aotearoa me Te Mana Hauora Māori. Ko tā Hauora Aotearoa he whakarite haere i ngā ratonga hauora huri noa i Aotearoa, mai i ngā rohe, ā, puta noa i te motu whānui. Ka mahi kōtui Te Mana Hauora Māori me Hauora Aotearoa ki te whakapai ake i ngā ratonga hauora nei kia whai hua ake ai ki a ngāi Māori.

Nā, he tīmatanga noa tēnei. Nāwai rā, ā, ka kitea ka pai kē atu ngā taunakitanga whakaora i te iwi.

E rima ngā wāhanga matua e tino whai hua ai ēnei momo panonitanga.

Tuatahi, ka whakamanatia Te Tiriti o Waitangi e te pūnaha hauora mā roto i tōna whai kia whakamanatia a ngāi Māori ki te waihanga ratonga hauora e hāngai pū ana ki ngā hiahia a ngāi Māori. He mahi nui tā ngā hapori Māori ki te whakahāngai ake i ngā ratonga hauora ki a ngāi Māori ake, me te huhua tāngata nō Aotearoa e torotoro mai nei ki ngā ratonga hauora Māori. Ka pai kē atu tēnei mō te katoa nō te mea mēnā ka ora a ngāi Māori i tēnei pūnaha hauora ka ora te katoa.

Tuarua, ka taea e te marea te toro ki ngā tautiakitanga hauora e pātata ana ki ō rātou kāinga. Ka tika mai te whakaatatia o ngā hiahia a te hapori ki ratonga hauora nei. Ka nui kē atu hoki te wāhanga ki ngā take tautoko i te whaioranga o te tangata, arā, mēnā rānei kei te mahana, kei te āhuru ngā kāinga.  

Tuatoru, ko te tuawhiti o ngā tautiakitanga whawhati tata, mātanga hoki ka wātea ki te hunga e whai wāhi atu ana. Ka mahi tahi tētahi kāhui tākuta, ētahi mātanga rongoā me ētahi ratonga ā-hapori ki te whakaako i te marea kia whai ora ai, ā, kia heke iho te nui o te hunga whai tautiakitanga.

Fourth, ka pai kē atu te whakamahinga o ngā hangarau matihiko mō te tuku ratonga ki ngā kāinga, ngā hapori me ngā rohe. Mā te hangarau hoki e mārama ake ai te tautoko a ngā kaimahi hauora i ā rātou tūroro.

Hei whakamutu ake, mō te āhua ki te hunga kaimahi hauora, ka whāia rawatia he mahere mō rātou, arā, ko te whakarato kaupapa whakangūngū hei whakawhanake ake i te hunga mahi o āpōpō kia whiwhi ai rātou i ngā pūkenga e tika ana i ngā wā katoa.  

Ehara i te mea ka māmā noa te whakatutuki i te whakakitenga mō te hauora o Aotearoa hei ngā rā ki tua; mā te wā tonu e whakatau. Heoi, he anamata tēnei ka tino whai hua.

Our new health system

On 1 July 2022, we moved to a new national health system. Having a national system means that we can make changes over time to achieve better outcomes for our health.

What will be different?

At first, the healthcare services you received looked and felt the same, but with a different name. At the same time, we started making changes behind the scenes, and these soon showed through.

We designed the new health system to enable a nationwide view for planning and delivering services. This makes the system more efficient and consistent. Our aim is to address ongoing problems like waiting lists by creating a healthcare system that is nationally planned, regionally delivered and locally tailored. This means when it comes to health services, where you live will matter less than what you need.

All of the health reform changes are designed to reduce the pressure on specialist and hospital care.

Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora has national teams working to coordinate healthcare across the country. One of these teams - the Planned Care Taskforce - is focused on reducing how long people have to wait for planned healthcare and surgeries.

We'll use digital technology more often and in better ways to provide people with services in their homes, hapori and local communities. Technology will also help healthcare workers to better understand and support their patients. For example, if you need to see a doctor other than from your usual provider, whoever you see will have access to all your medical records, like your health history, what medications you take and if you have an allergy.

Another benefit of the change is it allows us to spend more money on healthcare, rather than duplicating administration costs across different areas.

The video below, from July 2022, outlines what to expect from our new national health system.

Video transcript


On the 1st of July, we moved to a new national health system.

At first it will look and feel the same, but having a national system means that changes can be made over time to achieve better outcomes for our health.

This means changes can be made that are designed to do things like:

  • Simplify our health system: replace DHBs with a single national health system that plans once where it makes sense and supports tailored local delivery. 
  • Prioritise the voices of our communities: create new ways to engage and work with different communities, to better inform the way healthcare is planned and delivered.
  • Provide healthcare closer to home: support local health workers, as well as Māori and Pasifika providers, to make it easier for people to get to healthcare and to reduce pressure on tertiary and hospital care.
  • Tailor healthcare to community needs: join up health care, support services, and Iwi and community organisations locally, to provide healthcare services that better meets our communities' needs.
  • Modernise and invest in new technology: Move to more accessible online health services and provide our healthcare workers with modern tools and better, real-time information.


How we will deliver on the reforms

The interim Government Policy Statement on Health (interim GPS) outlines what the Government expects the health system to deliver and achieve over the 2022-2024 period, and how success will be measured, monitored and reported.

The interim GPS sets out the direction of health system reforms over the next two years, so the Government can be held to account on progress and performance. It also sets expectations for health entities. The actions required will vary for different health entities, but the core direction and outcomes will be consistent to ensure that all health entities work towards common goals which matter for people and whānau.

Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora have jointly published Te Pae Tata Interim New Zealand Health Plan 2022, an initial plan designed to get us up and running while a full process can be undertaken to design the first full scale New Zealand Health Plan. Te Pae Tata delivers on the expectations of the interim GPS, the expectations of the Pae Ora legislation and the five system shifts, creating a new health service delivery system to serve all New Zealanders.

Pātiki and Waharua Kōpito patterns

Explore Te Pae Tata | Interim New Zealand Health Plan

Learn more about our priorities and action plans for the next two years - and what these mean for you - by exploring Te Pae Tata | Interim New Zealand Health Plan.