Ngā Ripo – Training and Development for Caregiving Whānau

Ngā Ripo – Journeys of Change: A Kaupapa Māori re…
12 Oct 2020
Oranga Tamariki response to Ngā Ripo - Journeys of…
12 Oct 2020


The Training and Development for Caregiving Whānau (TDCW) pilot programmes are an initiative that sits within the Caregiver Recruitment and Support (CGRS) project; a multi-year transformation journey which aims to increase the stability and quality of care for tamariki and young people who are unable to live with their birth parents. Caregivers have told us that at times they do not feel adequately supported to provide for tamariki in their care, particularly when faced with challenging tamariki behaviours that are often the result of histories involving trauma. Inadequate support for caregivers in this situation can lead to a breakdown in the caregiving arrangement, and instability for tamariki in care.

To address this, the CGRS project initiated six pilot programmes for the training and development of caregiving whānau, delivered in Tāmaki Makaurau, Waikato, Whakatāne, Taupō, Heretaunga, and Pōneke. The TDCW pilots aimed to increase the capability of caregiving whānau in order to build better attachment between tamariki and caregiving whānau, achieve placement stabilisation, and improve outcomes for tamariki.

This report synthesises qualitative interview data from a research project conducted by Te Rōpū Whāriki (Massey University) to explore the TDCW programmes. Here we report on implementation of the six pilot programmes, drawing out key learnings as well as exploring the various journeys and changes experienced by caregivers who participated in a TDCW pilot, provider staff, and Oranga Tamariki social workers.


We gathered individual and focus group data about the experiences of caregiver participants, programme providers and Oranga Tamariki regional social workers supporting the training programmes; 133 individuals took part in 59 interviews. Opportunities for all participant groups and other Oranga Tamariki staff (via change story processes) to contribute to the research analysis were provided, as described above.

Thematic Analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006) was used to understand and discuss the insights from the interviews. In addition, Most Significant Change Story (Dart and Davies, 2003) methods were used to highlight key narratives that emerged from the data about the pilot programmes. We developed a conceptual framework, Ngā Ripo, to conceptualise experiences, understandings, learnings and changes as rippling journeys.

Key Results

Findings are based on the experiences of 67 caregivers, 35 provider staff, and 31 Oranga Tamariki regional social workers supporting the programmes.

A schedule of 59 individual and group interviews included repeat caregiver interviews, enabling researchers to ‘walk alongside’ caregivers as they shared insights, reflected on experiences, and contributed to the research analysis. Most significant change stories were developed, providing in-depth personal stories of the changes and effects from the programmes.

Ngā Ripo, a conceptual model based on te ao Māori concepts, was developed to describe the rippling effect of change in caregivers as a result of their programme: beginning within the self; then to improved interactions with tamariki and whānau; to improved relationships with wider whakapapa and agencies; and further, to change values and assumptions that influence behaviour.

Caregivers described improvements across three broad domains:

  • Mauri Ora: improved confidence and self-value; new understandings of colonisation, trauma and attachment, and of their own interactions with tamariki; and success with practical approaches to challenging situations and behaviours.
  • Kotahitanga: improved relationships between caregivers, and with Oranga Tamariki.
  • Te Ao Māori: deeper understandings, valuing, and engaging with te ao Māori.

All programmes contributed to whānau ora by supporting more positive and healing whānau environments.

Inner journeys and subsequent changes with whānau and wider whakapapa were most apparent in caregiver stories from Kaupapa Māori and te ao Māori grounded programme delivery.

Both Māori and Tauiwi (non-Māori) experienced benefits; approaches taken by the programmes were effective across cultural boundaries.

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