Can we measure whānau wellbeing?

16 December 2016

As New Zealanders, many of us tend to think of the words ‘whānau’ and ‘families’ as being fairly interchangeable. Superu has learned through its work gathering evidence about both families and whānau that they embrace quite different concepts, and they need to be measured differently too.

In response, Superu has developed a conceptual framework and a measurement framework, which together informs our approach to thinking about data on whānau for the annual Family and Whānau Status Reports. The critical thinking behind this work has just been published in a new report, The Whānau Rangatiratanga framework: approaching whānau wellbeing from within Te Ao Māori.

Author Kahukore Baker (Te Upokorehe, Te Whakatöhea) explains why measuring whānau is important: “The concept of whānau goes well beyond the bounds of the ‘nuclear family’. Hapu and iwi are also entwined with our whānau, along with our traditions. By creating these measurement frameworks, we are able to offer the social sector better information that they can use to improve outcomes for Māori,” she says.

The framework is built around five key principles: whakapapa (descent, kinship), manaakitanga (duty of care), rangatiratanga (governance, leadership), kotahitanga (collective unity), and wairuatanga (spiritual beliefs and practices).

Last update: 16 Dec 2016