Te Whāriki o te Ara Oranga

He Ara Oranga reflected the voices of thousands of New Zealanders.

He Ara Oranga

He Ara Oranga, the report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction, reflected the voices of thousands of New Zealanders. It included the call for a system focused on wellbeing that makes the most of existing talent and builds capability and relationships across the sector and communities. A key component of the Government’s response to He Ara Oranga is to establish a mechanism for sharing innovation and learning about what works well so services can change in ways that improve the mental health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

Te Whāriki o te Ara Oranga has been created as a response to this call. A network for innovators, influencers and leaders in mental health and addiction services, Whāriki will launch in 2021. It will help people find examples of what is working, where and for whom to transform services. Te Pou has been engaged to create and host Whāriki for the next 12 months.

A dynamic network to share learning and innovation by the people who will deliver change, it supports members to connect and collaborate creatively. A safe space to wānanga; Whāriki will evolve as members join.

Be part of the change

Whāriki is looking for initiatives to profile in mental health and addiction services that:

  • Improve equity for Māori
  • Increase access to services
  • Expand choices so that services work well for people
  • Learn from COVID-19 innovation

Get in touch

Get in touch with Whāriki to recommend initiatives in these areas and if you would like to come on board as an early adopter. Experience with networks suggests it is useful to focus on a small number of priority topics. The initial focus areas were determined from feedback from the sector and will evolve as members join. Watch out for more details of when Whāriki goes live so that you can join a supportive community committed to change.


A Te Tiriti-based and sector-owned initiative to improve the mental health and wellbeing of New Zealanders and achieve equity for Māori by:

  • Bringing together diverse mental health and addiction leaders
  • Sharing assorted perspectives and experiences
  • Learning about how to implement innovations and transformation
  • Focusing on learning about Māori models of health and wellbeing, and approaches that address equity for Māori.

And it is not just talk. The aspiration is that Whāriki members will deliver change based on what they learn from each other and will see their successes influence services around the country.

Whāriki components

The oversight group

This group has the responsibility to get the network up and running. The oversight group comprises leaders from the Ministry of Health, Health Quality and Safety Commission, and Te Pou and includes the Ministry of Health’s Chief Advisor, Māori. Collectively, they are accountable to deliver and oversee Whāriki. They decide on the network’s initial design and structure and respond to feedback to shape Whāriki.

The support team

A small project team is doing the mahi to set up Whāriki. This includes two ringa kohikohi (knowledge brokers) who connect people into the network and forge connections between them. They find, translate and share knowledge, and facilitate hui to enable the sharing of what works. The ringa kohikohi are supported by people with communications, technology and administration skills.

Whāriki’s platform

Currently being tested, the platform will help people connect to share resources, their experiences and innovations.


Whāriki will comprise innovators, leaders and influencers across mental health and addiction services including tangata whenua, people with lived experience, clinicians, planners and funders, and service managers that reflect the diversity of Aotearoa. Members will bring their collective knowledge, diverse perspectives and an openness to learn from each other and adopting innovative solutions.


One of Whāriki’s new ringa kohikohi (knowledge brokers), Katheryn Butters will connect members into the network and identify and showcase initiatives. The new ringa kohikohi Māori will join the network in 2021.

Related Initiatives



Te Pou has a wide range of evidence-based resources and tools to help the mental health, addiction and disability workforces.

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Our work

Te Pou works alongside mental health and addiction services, and disability organisations to understand their priorities and workforce challenges.

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