Manawa: Measuring what matters for Māori – Social Wellbeing Agency

Social Wellbeing Agency

Learn how two Māori NGOs and the Social Wellbeing Agency (SWA) came together through the NZ GovTech Accelerator and created a way of measuring and learning about whānau wellbeing and their social services experience to change the way services are contracted and designed.

Problem

Government agencies get whānau information through contract reporting and reviews of social services. It’s siloed, not really about the whānau, and doesn’t measure what matters to them. Whānau are big users of social services but don’t feel trusted or listened to. This can mean they receive services that don’t meet their needs.

Solution

The team proposed an app that asks individual whānau members questions about their wellbeing based on the famous Whare Tapa Wha model (i.e. mind, body, spirit, relationships). It also asks them to rate their service provider. This solution efficiently captures whānau voices, measures wellbeing and service satisfaction, and provides quick feedback to the system.

Observations and lessons learnt

Collaboration with Iwi and Māori

MĀORI NGO PARTNERSHIPs

It’s all about relationships. Wellington often takes a "contract-first" approach and that can lose people. You need to establish a trusted partnership with the appropriate Iwi and Māori organisations. You must work in partnership.

The accelerator allowed us and NGOs to work together on an even footing in a genuine partnership that’s continuing today.

BE CLEAR ON THE OBJECTIVES

This project has slowed in part due to differing time commitments and understanding of what comes next. Make sure these objectives are as clear as possible before the work, whilst acknowledging they may evolve.

Honouring Te Tiriti

MĀORI DATA SOVEREIGNTY

Data sovereignty is not a big issue when you have an established, trusted relationship with the partnership process right from the get-go. It is intuitive knowledge that data isn’t just an input resource to do whatever you want with when you are in partnership. Showing iwi how you’re creating value for them will open up conversations. Otherwise, why would they talk to you?

It may or may not work. You’ve got to have openness and curiosity.

Autonomy

PROJECT CHAMPION

There needs to be a consistent person to hold on to the story and relationships. The success of this project hinged on the leadership of the Chief Māori Advisor to champion the project both internally and externally.

TEAM AUTONOMY

For three months, the team worked solely on this and was given autonomy to make decisions and pursue the solution that emerged from a deep understanding of the problem and the evidence gathered. There’s a level of uncertainty with this approach. They didn’t know what the team would produce, but that’s okay.

2019

MID 2019

NZ GovTech Accelerator

A team from Te Hau Awhiowhio ō Otangarei Trust, Te Tihi o Ruahine Whānau Ora Alliance Charitable Trust (the backfilling of staff was financed by SWA), and the Social Wellbeing Agency focused on the problem close to full-time for three months through the NZ GovTech Accelerator, following an innovative methodology.

2020

EARLY 2020

DIA Funding

Following the output of the Accelerator, the team received significant funding from the DIA Digital Government Partnership Innovation Fund.

EARLY-MID 2020

COVID-19 Response

Progression slowed down with changing priorities due to the Covid-19 response.

2021

EARLY 2021

Building

A series of facilitated sprints with the NGOs involved building the product.

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Learn how two Māori NGOs and the Social Wellbeing Agency (SWA) came together through the NZ GovTech Accelerator and created a way of measuring and learning about whānau wellbeing and their social services experience to change the way services are contracted and designed.