Who we are

Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People was established to work in partnership with the disability community, Māori and Government for a better, more independent future for disabled people and whānau in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Many disabled people and whānau face barriers in achieving ordinary life outcomes due, in part, to the complexity of the way we currently do things. Government support can be fragmented and difficult to navigate, and multiple eligibility criteria for different services makes it difficult for disabled people to know what support services they are entitled to.

The Government created Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People to:

  1. Lead a true partnership between the disability community, Māori and Government. Learn more about how Whaikaha works in partnerships.
  2. Help transform the disability system in line with the Enabling Good Lives (EGL)  external URL approach.

Not like other ministries

The Government designed Whaikaha to do things differently than other ministries. We will partner with the disabled community and Māori and together, guide how we do things and how we operate. Our responsibility in this partnership is to listen to the voice of the disabled community and learn from the process of working together.

To do this, we will meet our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi external URL and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities external URL  (UNCRPD); and by following the principles of Enabling Good Lives and Whānau Ora.

By doing this we will create strong relationships and transform the sector for good.

We're also the first government ministry to have a name in three languages:

  • te reo Māori
  • English,
  • and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL)

Learn more about our journey to finding our names.

Working across Government

Whaikaha supports other Government agencies to respond more effectively to the needs of disabled people in areas such as employment, education, health and wellbeing.

Over time, Whaikaha will facilitate more cross-government work in partnership with disabled people to remove barriers for disabled people.

Working in partnership

Whaikaha was created in response to the disability community asking for a Ministry which focuses on improving the lives of disabled people.

The disability community and Whaikaha will work together to deliver better services, collaborative design of services, individualised funding, and address eligibility criteria with urgency.

By working in partnership with the disability community, Whaikaha gives full effect to the individual and collective voices of disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau.

Learn more about how Whaikaha works in partnerships.

Honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Te Tiriti o Waitangi is central to our ministry.

We are giving effect to core principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi through our mahi/work.

These include:

  • Kāwanatanga: Partnership and shared decision-making.
  • Rangatiratanga: Protection, revitalisation and development of taonga.
  • Rite tahi: Equity, participation and equality and non-discrimination.

As a Crown agency, Whaikaha is a Treaty partner committed to supporting and enabling Māori, whānau, hapū, iwi and communities so that tāngata whaikaha me ō rātou whānau realise their aspirations.

Whaikaha is committed to meeting its Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations - through partnerships with Māori in decisions, pursuing equitable outcomes for tāngata whaikaha Māori, and embedding Te Tiriti o Waitangi into the way we work with and for Māori.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) are foundational to Whaikaha. Along with Enabling Good Lives principles, and the Whānau Ora approach, they underpin all Whaikaha mahi.

Our whakatauākī

In Māori culture, a whakatauāki is like a story which has a deeper meaning. It always aims to teach the reader something for example a principle to live by or a way to be.

Our whakatauākī, written by Tim Worrall of Ngāi Tūhoe, is developed as a message that underpins the visual language for the Ministry. It tells a beautiful, story to describe a core promise the Ministry represents – thriving futures for all of our disabled communities.

Our whakatauākī is:

Me he aka rātā ka tipu-tahi, ka puāwai-tahi kia tū kaha I ngā hihi ō Tamanuiterā.

Like the rātā vines constantly growing and flourishing together to stand strong in the warmth of the sun.

Our accessibility charter

The team setting up our ministry worked to the principles of the Accessibility Charter, which was co-designed by the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) and disabled people's organisations:

  • Blind Citizens NZ
  • Deaf Aotearoa
  • People First New Zealand.

Accessibility, in all its forms, will be a key focus for our new ministry as it develops.

Read the full Accessibility Charter: A commitment to accessible information external URL on the MSD website.