Māori Family Wellbeing

Whānau Ora

Measuring Māori Children's Wellbeing, 2019

Cram, F. (2019). Measuring Māori children's wellbeing: A discussion paper. MAI Journal8(1), 16-32. doi:10.20507/MAIJournal.2019.8.1.2 

Abstract: The Annual Child Poverty Monitor reports on child poverty measures and child-poverty-related indicators. Around one in three Mäori children are defined as living in poverty. While the Monitor is a prompt for government action to reduce child poverty, it has been criticised as presenting a negative view of the lives of Mäori children and whänau. This paper considers whether a fuller picture of the lived realities of Mäori children can be gained from routinely collected data, using a lens of tamariki Mäori wellbeing. A mauri framing for the indicator set is proposed, with three components reflecting the ihi, wehi and wana of tamariki. This paper is intended as a resource that can inform discussion of Mäori-centric indicators of Mäori children’s wellbeing as individu- als, within the context of whänau and wider society.

Developing a Whānau Ora Assessment Tool, 2015

In 2015 Katoa Ltd was contracted by the Ministry of Health to develop a Whānau Ora assessment tool that could be used by Māori health organisations working with whānau. The plan was to include the tool as part of the Whānau Ora Information System being developed for the Ministry. Two reports were written:
  1. A literature review providing a rationale for the interpretation of the domains included in the tool and how they mapped onto the Whānau Ora outcomes. This report also included domain rubrics and assessment questions.
  2. A technical report providing advice about how the reliability and validity of the Whānau Ora assessment tool could be evaluated. It was recommended that the validity and reliability of the Whānau Ora Assessment Tool be examined by (a) Māori experts (content validity), (b) pre-testing the initial Tool with 30-50 whānau and individuals (criterion-related validity, construct validity), and (c) analysis of assessment data collected by organisations (reliability, endorsement).

Measuring Whānau Wellbeing, 2014

Māori wellbeing is the foundation of Māori development, yet Indigenous peoples (including Māori) are often invisible in universal measures of wellbeing. In 2006 Mason Durie outlined Māori-specific measures of wellbeing, built upon Māori understandings of what constitutes a “good life”. Following Durie this paper describes developments in the culturally responsive measurement of Māori wellbeing. These have culminated in Te Kupenga, the 2013 survey of Māori wellbeing by New Zealand Statistics, and two Māori mental wellbeing assessment tools, Hua Oranga and the Meihana Model. Gaps remain in the measurement of collective Māori wellbeing, or whānau ora, with individual reporting on whānau wellbeing currently being used as a proxy. More information is also needed about Māori subjective wellbeing in order for this to be fully captured in measurement tools. The close involvement of Māori in the development of any wellbeing measure is essential for that measure to be culturally responsive and valid. 

Read online: PDF icon MAI_Jrnl_V3_Iss1_Cram.pdf

A Dashboard for Monitoring Ngāti Kahungunu Health and Well-being, 2013-14

In 2006 Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated developed Te Ara Toiora, the strategic vision for the peoples of the Iwi to achieve “excellence in all areas of their lives”: “Kahungunu, Ki Te Whaiao, Ki Te Ao Marama. The three aims of Te Ara Toiora are for Ngāti Kahungunu whanui: to be Kahungunu; to participate as a contributing nation in the world; and to be healthy and enjoy a high standard of living.

Tuahiwi, the Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Dashboard, has been developed out of Te Ara Toiora. The goals of Tuahiwi are twofold: to measure the responsiveness of organisations to whānau, and to measure the wellbeing of whānau. Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated contracted Katoa Ltd to undertake the initial development of a framework to meet these goals. An initial framework was developed, along with a proposal for the next steps of development and testing of the framework.


Cram, F. (2014). Tuahiwi: Whaia te mana me te mauriA report prepared for Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated. Auckland: Katoa Ltd.

Whānau Wellbeing Assessment Tool Evaluation,Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust, 2012-2013

Kirimatao Paipa, Fiona Cram and Vivienne Kennedy

The assessment of whānau (Māori family) wellbeing is important for: understanding whānau-led priorities; raising whānau awareness of how they might effect change; establishing baselines so that whānau and service providers can assess changes that occur; and gather knowledge to inform advocacy for whānau. Such assessments can encompass Māori understandings of health and wellbeing to ensure they are relevant.

Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust was established in West Auckland in 1984 and has become  a recognised Urban Māori Authority and service provider organisation with formal and informal links to a wide range of organistions, including its collective partners in the Whānau Ora initiative. The Trust is driven by a whānau-centred philosophy that includes the introduction of a frontline whānau wellbeing assessment tool for staff and whānau. Katoa Ltd has been contracted to conduct an evaluation of the implementation and use of this assessment tool.

What Works for Māori, Department of Corrections, 2012

Les Williams and Fiona Cram

The purpose of this review was to study evidence from five major domains of endeavour to identify a common set of interventions, initiatives, approaches and practices that increases understanding of what helps Māori succeed or improve outcomes in life. The investigation concentrated on reviewing studies that produced evidence that contributed to this understanding. The domains of interest were economic development, education, health, whānau and wellness and the review covered a wide range of research evidence within each domain. The approach utilised a set of criteria to guide selection and analysis of literature and subjected the information and findings to a process of synthesis that was designed to identify the commonalities of success across the five domains. There were two stages of synthesis. One was at the end of the analysis of each domain and the other was an overall synthesis that informed the discussion and conclusions section.

Link to the report

Evaluation of the Vulnerable Pregnant Women's Multidisciplinary Team, Hawke's Bay District Health Board, 2011

Fiona Cram and Adreanne Ormond

The Vulnerable Pregnant Women's Multidisciplinary Team aims to reduce the vulnerability of pregnant women and ensure that every pregnancy has the healthiest outcome for mother and baby. Inter-agency collaboration is deployed as a way for people and organisations to combine their vision, strategy, multiple skills, knowledge and experience to facilitate solutions to the complex issues (e.g., socio-economic, health, community and cultural issues) that vulnerable women face. A high number of referrals to the Team cme from those in the DHB or from the women’s lead maternity carer. This evaluation relied on the Team's data and insights from Team members to assess the Team’s work. 

The data provided an overview of how the Team attended to vulnerable women and their babies, and when and why their case files were closed. A third of the cases in the database had been closed by the Team because there were no further concerns. In many cases the women and babies had been referred to appropriate providers. What stood out was that the Team was able to maintain a watching brief over these women in their community; they knew these women, where they were, and how they were doing – both formally and informally.

The evaluation concluded that the Vulnerable Pregnant Women’s Multidisciplinary Team employed a collaborative team model in order to provide a wraparound service from multiple agencies. The agencies in the Team were committed to their support roles and shared a common vision to assist women, babies, and families to achieve the healthiest possible outcomes. Team members found the collaboration to be valuable in terms of supporting the women as well as the Team. At first they were unaware of each agencies’ role, expertise and knowledge. This changed over time as they worked closely together, discussed collaborative solutions, and demonstrated expertise and knowledge. The Team leadership was stable and facilitated an environment of trust where various perspectives and approaches to sensitive topics could be rigorously discussed.

Kaitoko Whānau Evaluation, Te Puni Kōkiri, 2011

Fiona Cram, Vivienne Kennedy and Kirimatao Paipa

The evaluation of the Kaitoko Whānau programme was undertaken in 2011. Eleven host organisations, their Kaitoko Whānau, key community support people and agencies, and whānau were interviewed about the implementation of, and outcomes from, the programme. Read more

Poverty chapter, Ngā Pae o the Māramatanga, 2011

Fiona Cram, for the volume 'Māori and Social Issues' edited by Tracey McIntosh and Malcolm Mulholland for Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, University of Auckland.

Poverty is often defined simply as the lack of monetary income (Hunter, 2009). A distinction is made between absolute poverty and relative poverty, with absolute poverty being ‘characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs’ (United Nations, 1995)Relative poverty was defined by the European Economic Community (1985) as ‘…the poor shall be taken to mean persons, families and groups of persons whose resources (material, cultural and social) are so limited as to exclude them from the minimum acceptable way of life of the Member State in which they live’. Using this second definition Māori, compared to non-Māori, are poor in terms of both personal and household monetary income.

This chapter was informed by a report on Social Inclusion developed by Fiona for the JR McKenzie Trust.

Link to Huia Publishers

Safety of Subsequent Children: Māori Children and Whānau, Families Commission, 2011

Fiona Cram

This paper is part of the larger project being undertaken by the Families Commission; it considers what can be done to: assist families to overcome their complex issues so subsequent children are not at risk, and prevent subsequent children coming into families (while parents are still addressing their complex issues). Māori children belong to whānau, hapū and iwi and, as such, responsibility for raising children falls beyond the bounds of their immediate family. The roles and responsibilities of these childrearing networks include the transmission of cultural mores and monitoring of child safety. Unfortunately, and for often complex reasons, not all whānau are safe places for children in their care and Māori whānau are over-represented in the welfare system, including child-removal statistics. This paper seeks to understand the confluence of factors that place Māori whānau at risk within our society and how these whānau can be supported in their parenting aspirations, especially if they have already had a child removed by Child, Youth and Family (CYF).

Download this report below

Researching with Whānau Collectives, 2010

Fiona Cram and Vivienne Kennedy

Methods and tools for undertaking research and evaluation with Māori whānau (families) were explored for their appropriateness for use within a Kaupapa Māori research paradigm. Read more

Whānau Social Assistance Programme - Evaluation Framework, 2010

Fiona Cram and Kirimatao Paipa

The Whānau Social Assistance Programme instigated in 2009 by Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Māori Affairs) is comprised of a number of initiatives to support the health and wellness of Māori families, including: Maara Kai (gardens), Kaitoko Whānau (Māori family navigators) and Oranga Whānau (elders supporting Māori families). In 2010 Katoa Ltd developed evaluation frameworks for each of these three initiatives. Read more

Amokura Family Violence Prevention Strategy, Evaluation & Research Supervision, 2004-2007

Amokura (the Amokura Family Violence Prevention Strategy) was an integrated community-based initiative to address family violence in Tai Tokerau (Northland). The initiative was led by the Consortium (the Family Violence Prevention Consortium) made up of the Chief Executives of seven iwi authorities: Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu, Whaingaroa, Ngapuhi, Ngāti Whatua and Ngāti Wai. The Amokura initiative itself consisted of four project areas that provided ‘a whole of population approach to addressing family violence prevention’: research, education and promotion, professional development and training, and advocacy. Fiona Cram was the evaluator and research advisor for Amokura. Read more

Marginalisation Project, 2004

Marginalisation occurs when people are pushed to the sidelines of society. This project examined the processes and conditions by which some individuals and groups are excluded not only from 'mainstream' society but also from Māori society. Read more

Fiona Cram,
17 Aug 2018, 23:40