Ngā Tānga Kupu

Whānau Social Assistance Programmes

Whānau Social Assistance Programmes

Whānau Social Assistance Programmes – Māra Kai, Oranga Whānau, and Kaitoko Whānau – are all about enhancing the overall wellbeing of Māori.

The three programmes were launched by the Hon Dr Pita Sharples, Minister of Māori Affairs at the end of 2009.

Together, all three programmes are designed to both support our most vulnerable whānau and to build a long term sustainable Māori economy.

Kaitoko Whānau

Kaitoko Whānau, meaning “Family Support”, are community-based workers in Māori communities. These Kaitoko Whānau will focus on improving service delivery for families, rather than individuals, and foster positive development of the whānau whānui. Kaitoko Whānau work alongside families experiencing hardship, and assist them to connect with government agencies, local councils and other social service providers ensuring families’ receive all of the assistance available to them. In addition, Kaitoko Whānau liaise with community groups and Māori Wardens to promote and encourage a wider network of support for whānau.

Oranga Whānau

The Oranga Whānau programme establishes a network of “Nannies” providing direct, personal and practical support to caregivers and parents, especially young parents of young children, and their whānau. Through sharing knowledge, practices, values and attitudes between generations, Oranga Whānau promotes positive parenting, safe and healthy babies, and resilient whānau. The 2006 Census identified that more than 80,000 Māori children are in single-parent families, living in environments of high deprivation and need. Working out of marae and directly into homes and communities, Oranga Whānau will concentrate on these whānau first. Through rejuvenating the traditional principles of whānaungatanga, these kuia will re-weave and re-connect whānau into the “tribal whariki” of strong relationships with the whānau whānui and community.

Māra Kai

The Māra Kai programme provides small, one-off grants to marae and Māori communities to establish and maintain small non-commercial gardens in collaboration with their surrounding community. The programme aims to foster self-sufficiency; promote well-being, good nutrition and healthy activity; support knowledge transfer of traditional practices; and encourage whānaungatanga through strengthening community relationships and creating resilient whānau.

For more information about these programmes, contact your local Te Puni Kōkiri regional office or visit