Working in partnership

Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People works in partnership with disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and their families and whānau to transform the lives of disabled New Zealanders.

We are responsible for:

  • the commissioning and delivery of disability support services with a clear mandate to transform the way they are delivered, and
  • supporting other government agencies to incorporate disability perspectives and needs into their own policies and services so they can meet their own responsibilities to disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori.

What do we mean by partnership?

By partnership, we mean working together.

Whaikaha is part of a tripartite relationship; the other two partners are disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori me o rātou whānau.

We have heard from disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori that it is important that they and their family and whānau are involved in the governance of the new system and that their voices are embedded at all levels of decision making. 

Why is partnering important to Whaikaha?

When the Government set up Whaikaha, it said that achieving better outcomes for disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau (including parents, caregivers, and guardians) depends on transforming how government works with them.

Partnering makes Whaikaha different from other government agencies. We are committed to involve disabled people, tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau across our work – advising government, designing services, and working with other agencies to incorporate disability perspectives and needs into their policies and services.

Whaikaha has been given a mandate to lead a future-focused, whole of government approach to disability.

We believe this means working in partnership with disabled people and ensuring a high level of trust and transparency.

This also means building the capacity and capability for disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori to make decisions for themselves, to make use of available resources, to partner with government and advocate for themselves and their communities.

Principles that underpin our approach to partnering

All of the work Whaikaha does is underpinned by our three pou:

Te Tiriti o Waitangi:

  • Kāwanatanga, partnership and shared decision-making.
  • Rangatiratanga, protection, the right to seek opportunities for self-determination and self-management.
  • Rite tahi, equity, participation and equality and non-discrimination.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which recognises and affirms that:

  • Persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to be actively involved in decision-making processes about policies and programmes, including those directly concerning them.
  • State Parties (the Government) will actively promote an environment where people with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in the conduct of public affairs and encourage their participation in public affairs.
  • State Parties (the Government) will undertake appropriate and effective measures between governments and, as appropriate, in partnership with relevant international and regional organisations and civil societies, in particular organisations of disabled people.

The Enabling Good Lives principles which include disabled people having self-determination and control over their lives. For more information on Enabling Good Lives (EGL) please visit our System Transformation and Enabling Good Lives page.

What does partnership look like to Whaikaha?

Initial partnership groups

Whaikaha, disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori have worked through a process that will put an initial set of partnership structures in place:

  • Transformation Management Board. This tripartite Board provides governance for the transformation work programme as part of the Whaikaha Executive Leadership Team meeting cycle.
  • Strategic Advisory Group. This group provides strategic advice on major work items including policy work, strategic intentions, Cabinet papers and the impact of change on the lives of disabled people.
  • Insights Alliance. The Insights Alliance oversees the monitoring and evaluation of the Enabling Good Lives system transformation and the implementation of the Monitoring, Evaluation, Analysis and Learning (MEAL) framework.
  • Transformation advisory and steering groups support particular projects under the transformation. For example: The My Home My Choice, Nōku te kainga noho – Nōku te whakatau steering group oversees and informs the design, implementation and evaluation of the project that supports people in residential services to have more choice and control over their lives.
  • Networks for disabled young people/rangatahi. We are working with networks of disabled young people in ways that suit them so they can have a say in, and guide changes that will help them lead good lives.
  • Family / Whānau Advisory Group. This proposed group will represent the interests of family and whānau in improvements to enable disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori to lead good lives. 

Working with established communities

We are working with established communities of disabled people such as the Disabled Peoples’ Organisations Coalition, National Enabling Good Lives Leadership group, Te Ao Mārama Aotearoa, Te Whānau Turi o Aotearoa, Kāpō Māori Aotearoa, Mana Pasifika, Faiva Ora, I-Lead, the Older Disabled Persons Group and other interested groups. 

Working with local and regional communities

We are meeting with and listening to disabled people around the country.

This includes:

  • hui with tāngata whaikaha Māori me o rātou whānau to create the Whāia te Ao Mārama Action Plan.
  • talanoa with Pacific Disabled people to create the first National Pacific Disability Action Plan.
  • continued support for the Coalition of Disabled People’s Organisations as they lead thinking on how government agencies work to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • working with Enabling Good Lives communities to shift authority from ‘the system’ to disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori as experts in their own lives and leaders in their communities.
  • meeting with and supporting disabled-led community partnerships such as the Tairāwhiti Weather Event group, which represents the voices of disabled people in post-weather event recovery planning in Tairāwhiti.
  • working with and supporting people around the country who are setting up and leading their own community networks. 

We recognise that partnerships will develop in a range of ways and on different timelines according to the interests, needs and approaches that reflect the people we serve. 

Process for appointing members to initial partnership groups

The process for appointing members to partnership groups will vary according to their purpose, function and responsibilities.

We are committed to being transparent about our processes. Information about how appointments are made to each group will be explained on our website and promoted across community networks. We will also make information available in accessible formats whenever we can. 

A lot of our partnership group positions will be advertised on our Nominations Database. Through the Nominations Database we also collect Expressions of Interest from disabled people who want to be considered for nominations for governance and advisory positions on state sector boards and committees.

How will we know if partnering is effective?

Whaikaha and our partners will work together to design and apply ways of becoming effective partners until shared and firm understandings are in place to deliver shared goals.

Groups in our initial set of partnership structures each have their own Terms of Reference which include their function, responsibilities, principles and membership. There will be reflection and evaluation about meetings and progress towards delivering responsibilities and recommendations for improvement.

We are working through some indicators and measures for how partnership contributes to our overall effectiveness.

We will learn from partnering efforts and share these insights in our role of stewarding change across government agencies.