What is Mana Whaikaha?

Mana Whaikaha is a prototype of a transformed disability support system which is funded by the New Zealand Government, through the Ministry of Health.

Mana Whaikaha design workshopThe prototype, which will operate on a 'try, learn and adjust' approach, is being tested in the MidCentral DHB region, which includes these districts:

  • Palmerston North
  • Horowhenua
  • Manawatu
  • Ōtaki
  • Tararua.

Objectives of new system 

The new system, Mana Whaikaha, has been co-designed over the past 18 months with disabled people and whānau, and others in the disability sector. It is based on the Enabling Good Lives vision and principles and aims to:

  • provide disabled people and whānau with more flexible support options
  • give disabled people and whānau greater decision making over their support and lives
  • improve outcomes for disabled people and whānau
  • create a cost-effective disability support system.

Read more about the Enabling Good Lives vision

Mana Whaikaha group around tableDisabled people and whānau have been calling for change for a long time because:

  • the current system provides one-size fits all support
  • support and funding is fragmented and siloed across government
  • it’s been about what the system needs (e.g. assessments for eligibility), not the disabled person and their whānau
  • disabled people have poorer life outcomes than many other New Zealanders
  • there are rising costs – but limited evidence of better outcomes.

Mana Whaikaha - the korero

The Mana Whaikaha korero reflects people’s strength, mana (influence, dignity) and mauri (life essence), and was co-designed with a group of disabled people and whānau.

Find out more about the Mana Whaikaha korero

Try, learn, adjust approach

Mana Whaikaha group in discussionA 'try, learn and adjust' approach is being taken with the Mana Whaikaha prototype.

Disabled people, whānau, providers, workforce, government agencies, and staff will provide feedback on what’s working and further opportunities to improve the disability support system.

Advice will be provided to Cabinet on the final model and expanding the transformed system beyond the MidCentral DHB region in late 2020.

Read more about the 'try, learn and adjust' approach

Key features of Mana Whaikaha

These are the key features of Mana Whaikaha, the new system:

  • People are welcomed into the system in multiple ways, and can then be provided with information, and linked with a Connector, peer network, government agency or disability organisation.
  • Connectors – an ally for disabled people and their whānau, who can walk alongside, if wanted, to help identify what they would like in their lives, how to build that life and the range of supports and options available. 
  • Easy to use information and processes for disabled people and whānau.
  • Connected support across government – support for disabled people to find out about what assistance might be available and how to connect with other government support.
  • A straightforward process for accessing funding, with flexibility about what can be purchased and easy reporting on how funding has been used.
  • Capability funding for disabled people and whānau.
  • Greater system accountability to disabled people and their whānau – disabled people and whānau are involved in monitoring and evaluating the system, and making recommendations to Ministers about changes to the system.

What will the funding be used for?

The Government has allocated $23.842 million over two years to implement the prototype in MidCentral, and to continue the Waikato and Christchurch demonstrations.

The funding will be used to increase support in the following ways:

  • Additional direct support is allocated to disabled people and whānau, which will mainly fund early interventions and improved access to specialist services. This is expected to improve outcomes and/or reduce costs in the medium to longer term. For example, easier access to specialist services and other early intervention could result in whānau with disabled children feeling less stressed.
  • Additional indirect support will be delivered mostly by Kaitūhono/Connectors, as well as through a focus on building capability. This support will enable disabled people to identify new possibilities, and build their networks and skills.