Who we are

Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People is a relatively new ministry set up in partnership with the community and Māori to transform the lives of many New Zealanders.

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.

Things need to change.

That's why the Government created Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People to:

On this page

Not like other ministries

The Government has asked that we do things differently to 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

Our role is to lead and coordinate cross-government strategic policy. This will mean that whenever a government agency is writing policy which will impact all New Zealanders, that the rights and needs of our community are taken into account.

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.

Cabinet Papers dated 29 September 2021 and 30 March 2022 said that disabled people’s call for “nothing about us without us” is central to Te Tiriti o Waitangi as well as to New Zealand’s commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

The Government also said we need to ensure the system gives full effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which is consistent with the UNCRPD and the UNDRIP and aligns with the principles and approaches of Whānau Ora.

Our Chief Executive and our staff will work closely with tāngata whaikaha Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi partners to uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

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 interim 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.

With new legislation (Accelerating Accessibility Bill) due to begin its journey through Parliament, as well as the establishment of a separate Accessibility Governance Board, the way in which accessibility standards are applied within our ministry will be an important focus for the incoming leadership.

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