The Beehive building

Whānau Resilience long-term healing and recovery services

Whānau Resilience is an initiative that aims to create strong, resilient communities where whānau are supported to live violence free and to eliminate violence for the next generation. People experiencing and using violence often need help at different times in their lives, so Whānau Resilience offers long-term support when people need it.

This initiative brings key changes to how we work with providers, including a new procurement process for providers, longer term contracts, and a shift from a nationally designed and delivered model to a regionally designed and delivered model. At the heart of this process is the embedding of whānau voice.

How it works

The design phase of Whānau Resilience involved local groups of providers working together within Police regions to design services for their communities.

This design process was completed in February 2021 and took around a year. One hundred and fourteen kaimahi from provider organisations and collectives participated in the design process. During this phase, providers worked together to build a picture of the needs and strengths of their region and tested what works for whānau to build resilience.

At the end of the design phase, the design groups delivered regional service concepts, which outlined their over-arching collaborative approach to support the long-term well-being of whānau experiencing family violence.

This year, MSD is supporting providers to embed their new service concepts. Simultaneously, as the new service concepts are implemented, a new reporting framework will be designed for use from the 2022/23 reporting year. The design of the reporting will maintain the values of Whānau Resilience, which is to work together with providers and ensure that whānau voice remains central to the framework.

Everyone involved is working to the same overall vision and is focused on five Pou, or service areas, which have been proven to be effective for long-term responses:

  • strengthening cultural identity and whakapapa
  • strengthening social capability and community connection
  • supporting long term behaviour change for men and people using violence
  • supporting trauma healing and recovery from violence
  • creating healthy relationships and skills.

To ensure newly designed services have a strong evidence base and are sustainable, key aspects have gone into their creation:

  • informed by, and adaptive to, local whānau voices
  • led by tikanga Māori principles and values
  • reflect and value diversity, cultural identity, and gender equality
  • have built-in measurements and feedback loops.

Key changes we are making with Whānau Resilience

A new procurement process for providers

Previously, traditional procurement processes didn’t factor in local contexts, favoured organisations that had the resources to write strong applications, and that over time resulted in less kaupapa Māori providers being a part of the service mix.

To address these concerns, we introduced a new approach to procure Whānau Resilience.

Instead of asking for just written applications, we included a combination of written and kanohi ki te kanohi (face-face) presentations that providers gave in front of their peers as well as a national panel. Presenting in front of peers made the procurement process more transparent, with the panel held accountable as everyone could see what was presented.

The aim was to make a fairer process for all, and to ensure equitable representation of Māori and Pacific providers. As a result, we now contract:

  • 54% Kaupapa Māori
  • 17% Pasifika
  • 5% refugee and migrant community organisations
  • 24% mainstream providers

Solutions that are designed by the region, for the region

A key change that Whānau Resilience brings is that solutions have been designed by regions, for regions.

We know that communities and providers have invaluable knowledge, experience and access to their unique local whānau voice that should inform the design of services in their communities.

This new approach has involved those who are delivering the service in the design and implementation.

This has helped strengthen community and provider engagement and investment in the design process. This has also ensured that the new service designs are tailored to their regions.

This “by the region, for the region” approach has led to regional service concepts which reflect the diverse and nuanced needs of the communities that Whānau Resilience providers serve. Some examples include:

  • wānanga
  • Pacific models of care
  • Kaupapa Māori programmes specifically for tāne Māori
  • holistic wrap-around services
  • a home-based support program led by and for ethnic communities.

A focus on fostering regional participation and decision making

Vital to the success of Whānau Resilience is fostering regional participation and decision making.

We are doing this by focusing on collaboration and giving providers the time to work together to listen to their local whānau voices, develop integrated solutions and create sustainable ways to stay connected.

Key to the success of a regionally designed and delivered model is context and relationships. We know that what works in one area might not work in another.

This will mean that underpinning the services that are designed and delivered will be a shared understanding of the dynamics of the community, and the strengths of the place and people.

Fostering a learning environment to build capability

Creating ways to sustainably build capability is another key component of Whānau Resilience.

The design phase fostered an environment where everyone had the time to share and participate in learning opportunities to build localised regional capability.

During this transition to delivery phase, a Transition Team has been established to support providers. The roles within this team are two National Change Leads (NCL) and Regional Transitional Leads (RTL).

The NCLs are focused on responsiveness of the Crown to Māori and Pacific Whānau Resilience providers, and in particular supporting Māori and Pasifika workforce capability by:

  • visiting Māori providers across the country to understand how Whānau Reslience can strengthen its approach
  • walking alongside Pacific providers to build their workforce capability, identify training needs and connect providers to sustain whanaungatanga/va fa’afeiloa’I and continual learning.

The RTLs are responsible for the end-to-end management of the Transition Phase for their region. This involves supporting providers to implement and embed new services, based on their service concepts.

This differs from the usual approach of bringing in design companies to lead the design where they ‘parachute in and airlift out’. By building the capability within the regions we are investing in, this gives local people the ability to develop and lead local solutions.

MSD is continuously learning from this process and being reflective about what has or hasn’t worked will give us a roadmap for future ways of working differently.

Longer-term five year contracts with FTE-based funding

Whānau Resilience has longer-term contracts broken into two phases – around 12 months for regional design of services and then a further 4 years for delivery.

This allowed time for providers to work together across their region to determine the needs of their communities and what is already available, test ideas and deliver a clear service concept now ready for implementation.

The funding is also FTE-based, rather than funding by client volumes, which helps to make funding more equal and transparent for providers.

A new Reporting Framework

To fulfil the aspirations of Whānau Resilience, a new national reporting system will be designed in partnership with Whānau Resilience providers. The reporting framework will be underpinned by whānau outcomes and provide the platform for a feedback loop where we will share the insights from the reporting to providers. We will work with providers to design a reporting framework that is established on the principles of practice-based evidence, that creates opportunities for learning and development, and that creates value for MSD and providers alike.

Strategic links

Whānau Resilience came about as part of MSD’s new Family Violence Funding Approach, and is being supported by additional funding of $15.4 million as part of Budget 2018.

The Whānau Resilience approach reflects MSD’s strategic intent of Kotahitanga – partnering for greater impact – by acknowledging that communities and providers have invaluable knowledge and experience that should inform the design of services delivered in their communities.

The Whānau Resilience initiative and Funding Approach in general is part of, and will remain responsive to, the work of the wider cross-government joint venture to reduce family violence and sexual violence through an integrated response.

Whānau Resilience services are just one element in a wider system response to family violence.

The work of the wider cross-government joint venture includes Te Aorerekura: the National Strategy and Action Plan setting out a new collective path for government, tangata whenua, specialist sectors, and communities to eliminate family violence and sexual violence. There are key shifts set-out in Te Aorerekura which align with the aims of Whānau Resilience.

Whānau Resilience services are just one element in a wider system response to family violence.

Whanau Resilience Services

Updates on Whānau Resilience

You can stay in touch with the latest on what’s happening by subscribing to our Family Violence and Sexual Violence Service Provider Update.

Please contact us at if you have any questions.

Key materials for Whanau Resilience providers

A resource hub to get Whanau Resilience providers up and running with their design.

The Beehive building
Print this page.