Ngā Tini Whetū: Lessons Learnt

Ngā Tini Whetū: Lessons Learnt
01 May 2021


The focus of this research is to capture the qualitative learnings from key stakeholders involved in the development of the Ngā Tini Whetū prototype from November 2019 to December 2020.

The key research question is:

  • What are the lessons learnt by participating agencies during the development of the Ngā Tini Whetū Prototype in year one?

This research covered three focus areas:

  1. The pathway to the partnership and where to from here
  2. Individual agency and collective (subjective) experiences
  3. Whānau Ora philosophy and how each agency have come to understand it.


This research covers three focus areas and includes the following questions:

Focus Area 1: The pathway to the partnership and where we are going from here.

  • How did we get to this point? What did it take to get here?
    • From idea and early conversations to inception and funding transferred and a joint agency agreed approach
    • Pathways to the government agencies working together; to WOCA working with nonTPK agencies. How did Ministers and agencies operate to get here?
    • What investment was required to get to this point? The funding journey to get to $M transferred from Oranga Tamariki and ACC to TPK. What were the options that enabled this to happen? What were the barriers?
    • What investment was required to get to this point? The time and effort required of each agency to date, skills and experience?
    • What did it take to build relationships/how was this done? What worked well, what didn’t?
  • How and why has each agency’s thinking evolved over the past year or so? For example, Oranga Tamariki’s thinking has shifted both through direct involvement in the prototype but by wider organisational challenges and criticism that influences how we respond.
  • Now that we are here, what are we trying to do, what are the outcomes we are trying to achieve and how do we think we are doing that – as agencies separately, then agencies collaboratively.

Focus Area 2: Our (subjective) experiences

  • How is the last 12 months different from what and how we usually operate with master/servant relationship? What did it take to make this shift/how was it achieved?
  • How have we shifted our thinking from an output-based contract to an outcomes based one? What have the implications been?

Focus Area 3: The Whānau Ora philosophy and how each agency have come to understand it.

  • How do non-TPK agencies understand Whānau Ora. And what it means to hold whānau at the centre? How has non-TPK agency thinking changed in this respect?
  • Learnings about how TPK and WOCA have helped facilitate a better understanding of whānau ora. How have TPK and WOCA needed to work differently with other agencies to enable that better understanding?

And more generally, how has TPK needed to work differently to bring together agencies to work with them and with WOCA.

  • Is working in silos or working collaboratively more effective for these types of prototypes/projects for whānau? What are the pros and cons?

Semi-structured interviews

The researcher carried out face-to-face interviews with 15 participants and virtual interviews via zoom with seven participants to accommodate their availability. All interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed.

The majority of agency interviews were carried out in the Wellington CBD at the respective agency offices. Two Deputy Chief Executives agreed to be interviewed together. The researcher travelled to West Auckland to spend one day at the WOCA office to interview staff. Two interviews involved two participants in each interview to maximise time.

Key Results

The report highlights several positive findings, including:

  • the public service is maturing in how it supports and embeds Whānau Ora
  • that Ministerial leadership was instrumental for getting the prototype underway
  • Crown and Māori sharing common goals and aspirations for tamariki and whānau
  • the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency successfully challenged agencies to better understand how to partner with a Māori commissioning agency
  • senior leaders are championing collaboration between agencies.

The report also found opportunities for further strengthening and exploration as the prototype continues:

  • The report notes agencies need to identify how to build experience, capability and evidence to support Whānau Ora and other forms of collaborative working across government.
  • The report noted while more work is needed to embed collaborative ways of working, what has been completed is unique, innovative and courageous.
  • There is also an opportunity to explore how innovative funding can support future Māori-Crown and Iwi-Crown partnerships and facilitate cross agency resourcing.
Page last modified: 14 Nov 2023