System Transformation and Enabling Good Lives

This page includes information on Enabling Good Lives (EGL). It also includes information on the work underway to transform the disability support system based on the EGL Vision and Principles. We call this work: System Transformation.

Enabling Good Lives

In 2011, members of the disability community developed the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) approach with the intent of increasing choice and control for disabled people and their families.

The EGL approach is a foundation and framework to guide positive change for disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori, whānau, families, communities and governance structures. The aim is to shift authority from ‘the system’ to regarding disabled people and their families as experts in their own lives, and leaders in their lives and communities.

Enabling Good Lives Vision

The Vision for the future disability support system is that:

In the future, disabled children and adults and their families will have greater choice and control over their supports and lives, and make more use of natural and universally available supports.

Enabling Good Lives Principles

The Enabling Good Lives Principles are

  • Self determination - Disabled people are in control of their lives.
  • Beginning early - Invest early in families and whānau to support them; to be aspirational for their disabled child; to build community and natural supports; and to support disabled children to become independent, rather than waiting for a crisis before support is available.
  • Mana enhancing - The abilities and contributions of disabled people and their families are recognised and respected.
  • Person centred - Disabled people have supports that are tailored to their individual needs and goals, and that take a whole life approach rather than being split across programmes.
  • Ordinary life outcomes - Disabled people are supported to live an everyday life in everyday places; and are regarded as citizens with opportunities for learning, employment, having a home and family, and social participation - like others at similar stages of life.
  • Mainstream first - Disabled people are supported to access mainstream services before specialist disability services.
  • Easy to use - Disabled people have supports that are simple to use and flexible.
  • Relationship building - Supports build and strengthen relationships between disabled people, their whānau and community. 

The national EGL website has more information about EGL principles. external URL

If you'd like to find out more about the impact of EGL in the community, visit EGL Good Life Stories external URL  on the EGL website. 

Current EGL sites

The EGL sites were developed as a result of partnership between government and community to demonstrate what the vision and principles could look like in practice.

This includes

  • investing in disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau leadership
  • having access to a connector / kaitūhono / tūhono, with an emphasis on enabling the disabled person, within the context of their whānau, to build a good life in a community who values who they are and what they have to offer
  • a flexible personalised budget with a range of options about how this is managed 

The three current EGL sites are in Christchurch, Waikato, and MidCentral (Mana Whaikaha).

Where to from here?

Whaikaha is committed to working in partnership with disabled people, Māori and Government to transform the disability support system in line with the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) approach.

This includes building the capacity and capability of tāngata whaikaha Māori, disabled people, their whānau and communities, to live self-determined lives, and to shape the transformation of the disability support system.

Expanding the EGL approach involves transforming the way disability support is provided by Whaikaha and across the wider government systems.

Whaikaha has a mandate to work with other government agencies to transform the services and supports they provide in order to align with the principles of EGL.

Transformation of the system alone does not result in the EGL vision and principles being realized, but it will make it easier for disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau to build good lives of their own. 

My Home My Choice

The My Home My Choice programme focuses on the work needed to transform the way people in residential services are assisted so they have more choice and control in their lives. This includes developing options and alternatives for people who are considering entry into or exit out of residential care.

September 2023 Funding

In September 2023, the Government announced that Whaikaha could access $73.7 million over the next four years and an additional $40.5m per annum in the following years to support our disability system transformation work.  

Disability Transformation Tagged Contingency Drawdown

How can I get involved?

Whaikaha recognises that disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and family/whānau leadership are central to the EGL approach.   

There will be a range of opportunities available for people to get involved, including the ongoing establishment of regional disability leadership groups and investment in building capability and capacity.  

These opportunities will be communicated with the disability community as they become available. 

Our website includes information about working at Whaikaha, and other opportunities that may be of interest to the disability community. Find out about these opportunities on our Get involved webpage

Joining Whaikaha means being part of a whānau that celebrates the diversity that each individual brings. Currently, about 40 percent of our kaimahi (staff) identify as disabled people and we want this number to grow.