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Te Ara Mātua


Te Ara Mātua is a new and improved way to support whānau through early intervention to limit whānau involvement with Oranga Tamariki. Te Ara Mātua is 1 of 9 prototypes that are being designed throughout the country. Te Ara Mātua responds to the findings of whānau outlined in the ‘Kōrero Mai Whānau Report’. In 2019, the ‘Kōrero Mai Whānau’ project took place at Waipatu Marae and provided a platform for whānau and hapū to share their experiences with maintaining their whānau and interactions with the state.

New Te Ara Mātua Hub - 19 July 2024

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated (NKII) and its health and wellbeing advisory group Te Tumu Whakahaere o Te Wero (Te Wero), with support from Oranga Tamariki, are proud to announce the opening of a new Te Ara Mātua Hub in Heretaunga (Hastings). This Kahungunu-led initiative aims to offer integrated support through a collective approach to addressing the disproportionate number of tamariki Māori in state care in Te Matau-a-Māui (Hawke’s Bay).

Te Ara Matua Logo.jpg

Improved access and local support

The hub which is based at Taikura House on the same floor as the Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated office, will provide an independent space for whānau in Heretaunga to access support from Te Wero, including care, health, home, and youth support services. Whānau will also be offered training, development, and wānanga. By uniting community experts and stakeholders, the hub ensures early and effective responses to tamariki and whānau needs.

“From our engagement with whānau we learned that they need support that is accessible and relatable. They want support they can trust from someone who looks like them, sounds like them and is them. We have a similar hub planned for Ahuriri (Napier) to ensure all Kahungunu whānau have the support they need,” says Melissa White, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi, Director of Te Ara Mātua.

An integrated team, including a Pou Tāhuhu (Independent Coordinator from Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc.) and two Pou Tuarongo (Te Wero Report of Concern assessors) supported by Oranga Tamariki social workers, will manage, and assess community referrals using a collective decision-making process. The team will collaborate closely with Oranga Tamariki care and protection sites and regional offices in Heretaunga and Ahuriri, as well as the Hawke’s Bay Youth Justice team.

A significant milestone in our journey

Chrissie Hape, the Chief Executive of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc acknowledged the significance of the opening and the whānau who have shared their experiences as part of Kōrero Mai, which inspired and enabled the realisation of Te Ara Mātua. She also commended the tireless efforts of the kaimahi from the iwi organisation, Te Wero and Oranga Tamariki for reaching this point. Chrissie has been involved in this journey for a number of years and says this day is a huge step for whānau.

“Te Ara Mātua is a waharoa programme that allows us to take a level of ownership of the delivery of services that support our whānau, to provide a space that allows our whānau to be nurtured and grow, to enable them to take control of their own destiny. I’m so excited about today,” - Chrissie Hape.

“In 2019, former iwi chairman Kaumātua Ngahiwi Tomoana, declared that ‘Not one more child’ would be taken into the Oranga Tamariki system without our intervention. The opening of the hub today represents significant shift in our ability to lead the way for our whānau”.

The Te Ara Mātua Hub opening was attended by Ngāti Kahungunu whānau, their Te Ara Toiora champions, and Te Wero. Special guests included Minister for Children Hon Karen Chhour, Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive Chappie Te Kani, and the local community. Speeches were delivered by Chrissie Hape and Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc. Board Chair Bayden Barber, Chappie Te Kani and  Minister Chhour, each highlighting the significance of Te Ara Mātua and the journey to its realisation.

Te Ara Mātua                                                                             

The hub is a whānau-centric space that forms part of the transformative Te Ara Mātua model, which prototypes a Ngāti Kahungunu-led approach to supporting and caring for whānau within their community. This prototype design, led by Kahungunu, responds to the findings outlined in the Kōrero Mai Whānau report. Based on a 2019 project, the report provided a platform for whānau and hapū to share their experiences with the state and discuss the preservation of their whānau. The primary aim of Te Ara Mātua is to keep whānau together and reunite those within the system with their whānau, hapū and iwi.

Strengthening partnership and enabling community-led solutions

The hub’s creation is a collaborative effort by Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc., Te Wero and Oranga Tamariki. It was born out of the Enabling Communities programme and a strategic partnership between Ngāti Kahungunu and Oranga Tamariki, established in 2021. This programme is the centre piece for the decentralising of Oranga Tamariki functions into the community.

“Te Ara Mātua is our iwi partnership with Oranga Tamariki, and this is a model that’s based on our tikanga, our reo, our whanaungatanga and our whakapapa with our people. We know how to manaaki, nurture and best care for our Tamariki” – Bayden Barber, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated Chairman.

“Our whānau are at the centre of Te Ara Mātua. The space we have opened today was inspired by Kahungunu whānau, is led by Kahungunu whānau and will be used for Kahungunu whānau,” – Chrissie Hape

Access Te Ara Mātua Support

Whānau and hapū are encouraged to learn more about the hub and access Te Ara Mātua services. For more information visit Key details will be posted on our website and shared throughout our iwi communication channels in due course.


Media Inquiries

Contact Ruth Wong, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Director of Smart Services and Communications Advisor. 0272139547


Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated is a Mandated Iwi Organisation/Authority. Ngāti Kahungunu is the third largest iwi.  Geographically the tribe has the second longest coastline in the country from Paritū in the North to Turakirae in the South. Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated maintains an independent position to provide research, advice and advocate for the interests, rights, values, beliefs and practices of Ngāti Kahungunu alongside our whānau and hapū. Our mission is to enhance the mana and well-being of Ngāti Kahungunu.


Background Notes

  • In 2019, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi incorporated (NKII) made a stance, ‘Not one more child’ – meaning, not one more child will be taken into the ‘Oranga Tamariki’ system without our intervention.

  • NKII invited whānau to share their stories and personal experiences with Oranga Tamariki and the wider system. Kōrero Mai Whānau is the report – the undiluted voice of our whānau.

  • Government Agencies.

  • NKII is working alongside ‘Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children’ to progress ‘Te Ara Mātua’ a project to change and improve support and care of our whānau in a culturally enhancing way that meets the needs and aspirations of whānau.

  • To ensure the whānau voice continues to be at the centre of ‘Te Ara Mātua’ Ngāti Kahungunu continues to engage with whānau champions.

  • It is important to reaffirm the aspirations and whakaaro of whānau in shaping this design to ensure it meets their future needs

  • Te Tumu Whakahaere o Te Wero is a wellbeing advisory group of partners who have contributed to the overall design of Te Ara Mātua. They are a collective made up of health and wellbeing providers from across Hawke’s Bay. The services provided by the collective play an important role including care providers, managing homes, health needs and youth support. 

  • The shift is expected to see a continued reduction in the number of children in care by using community relationships to intervene earlier and more effectively.

  • There are currently 9 prototypes across Aotearoa.

  • Ngāti Kahungunu launched the Te Ara Mātua Kaupapa on 26 April 2023, at Waipatu Marae, the place where the stories and experiences of our whānau were heard and collated into a report called Kōrero Mai Whānau – the undiluted voice of our whānau.







Our Guiding Principles

These guiding principles set the boundaries within which we will work and are not to be compromised for financial gain or short-term expediency.


  1. Te Tūhonohonotanga o Kahungunu ~ Tapestry of whakapapa that makes us who we are today

  2. Te Hononga Māreikura o Takitimu ~ How we relate to other iwi / waka

  3. Te Kotahitanga ~ League of peoples

  4. Te Whakaputanga o te Ao ~ Declaration of independence

  5. Te Tiriti o Waitangi ~ Joint venture with Crown

  6. Kanohi ki te kanohi ~ “Face to face”

  7. Pakihiwi ki te pakihiwi ~ “Shoulder to shoulder”   ~ How we do things


​​​​​​​Intellectual Protection

Te Ara Mātua is a kaupapa that was designed by Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated its Te Tumu Whakahaere advisory partners and the Te Ara Toiora whānau champions. The concepts, graphs, and all kaupapa designs are copyrighted under the  Cultural Creative Intellectual Property Rights Reserved ©℗®™2009 

Any use of the kaupapa must be approved by Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated and the Te Tumu Whakahaere o Te Wero collective before it can be copied or used by anyone. This information remains the Intellectual Property of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated. and is not for public use. For all inquiries contact the Communications Advisor. 

Click on the links below to view videos and pictures from the launch of Te Ara Mātua - held at Waipatu Marae on 26 April 2023. 

Te Ara Mātua Launch 26 April 2023

Te Ara Mātua Office Opening 19 July 2024

The Launch 

Sharing the Pathway Plan

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