Peeni Henare attended the recent symposium in Blenheim organised by South Island commissioning agency Te Putahitanga o Te Waipoiunamu where providers discussed their achievements and challenges.
He says the commissioning agency structure seems to give autonomy to the sector without some of the constraints of government funding systems which have been seen as less responsive to community need.
He doesn’t like it when people try to draw a distinction between whanau and family.
"As far as I’m concerned there is no whānau. It’s just whānau. So I don’t care whether they are Māori whānau, Pacific whānau, new migrants or Pākehā whānau, the beauty of whānau ora is it puts them at the centre. A lot of people think it is just for Māori people but I can tell you in my discussions with communities, the whānau-centred approach is the new buzz word for the sector and the Pākehā sector that is finally catching up with what Māori are doing," Mr Henare says.