The philosophy behind the vision


Whangai is an indigenous concept of Aotearoa as means of meeting community social needs, especially for the young, and ensuring they are provided with adequate opportunity to grow. Expanding the Whangai philosophy out into the welfare and community arena provides an alternative to our current welfare system based on traditional Aotearoa practices.  The responsibility of resourcing the Whangai philosophy falls equally on the whole community. Lack of employment opportunities for caregivers to adequately resource their whanau through sustainable income streams is one of the leading obstacles creating inequality. Economies compete for business opportunities. Unemployment becomes part of the supply and demand fluctuations leaving the most vulnerable members of community at risk of being unable to retain sustainable employment.


New Zealand’s welfare system, the most generous in western economies was designed as short stop gap to support whanau through periods of disadvantage and to gain new employment. However, human nature plays its part and over time a sector of our community has become dependent, on in New Zealand’s case, welfare’s financial support. Interestingly despite this financial generosity we have one of the worst social outcome statistics amongst fellow western economies.  Everybody needs to feel valued and respected from both within their whanau and the wider community. Men and Women who are unable to provide for their children in the same manner other children are provided for within their community face frustrations luckily never experienced in the wider community.


As communities we have allowed this situation to evolve over time to a level of creating unsustainable compounding social deficits and if compared to a compounding fiscal deficit New Zealand economy would the equivalent of the Greek economy. While we continue to blame the symptom, those unable to maintain sustainable employment, we fail to take responsibility for communities’ inability to provide adequate opportunities for this sector of our community to be integrated in a manner that they can remain feeling valued and respected and adequately provide for their families.  With the natural desire of people to be valued and respected within their communities and communities need to invest to environmental restoration its Te Whangai Trusts vision to achieve a collaborative outcome servicing the needs of both our social and environmental responsibilities.

Trainees describe Te Whangai’s role in their life’s journey and how the programme meets individual needs.

To date the economic cost and time to generate funds puts mitigation of environmental damage into a fifty-year time frame. A large portion of this cost is man hours and we currently have thousands of man hours going to waste in our welfare and correction facilitation systems.  The Trust in its eighth year has hosted hundreds of community welfare and correction recipients all eager to use the opportunity to further reskill themselves in different aspects of business management activities. Through these outcomes they also do their bit to contribute to environmental mitigation.


Te Whangai income from environmental activities sits at around sixty percent of its own funding needs. By including government agency environmental resource requirements Te Whangai would easily attain seventy to eighty percent self-funding.  On achieving this level of self-funding Te Whangai will have the resources to drive down the cost and time to assist to mitigate the environmental damage.


The importance to return to customary values in order to achieve social environmental economic and cultural sustainability can’t be ignored or understated. Te Whangai vision is to demonstrate the strength of these values as a means of becoming a leading sustainable social environmental economic and culturally conscience export lead economy.

The Vision


Te whangai Trust aims to foster the Social, Environmental, Economic and Cultural needs of our people to become productive members of society and empower them to create a better life for themselves and their whanau.

A three week induction period establishes individual current needs and aspirations and determines initial intervention, advocacy and training pathways.  These are broadly outlined by a whangai life and work skills programme, a horticultural level 2 programme for those that don’t hold any formal NZQA credits, and an Agricultural NCEA programme.  Embedded in all of these programmes are business skills and expectations required in any work place.


The Te Whangai offers the opportunity for:

  • Numeracy and Literacy, Budgeting, Nutrition, Attendance, Roles and Responsibilities, Team Building. OSH, Drug and Alcohol Support and testing. Educational and training pathways, Advocacy services with Government agencies, Health and wellbeing.
  • We provide opportunity to broaden life experience  empowering people to have the courage to manage adversity  and gain tools to experience different life and work skills.
  • Transport individuals from their community  to a shared safe environment  negating barriers to attend.
  • Initially focus on basic needs – motivation to attend, sharing healthy meals, growing self esteem, relationship building, new skills acquisition, building intergenerational network of trainees.
  • Create knowledge, interconnectedness, and links into the community through work and life experience activities.
  • Providing  social services to support vulnerable children, young people and adults  to meet individual life plans through engendering hope and implementing dreams for a better future.


More Work and Income clients finding jobs


A programme that is helping more Work and Income clients find jobs was recognised today by States Services Commissioner Iain Rennie.  In partnership with Te Whangai Trust and employers like Fonterra and NZ Steel, Work and Income has helped over 400 clients find meaningful and sustainable jobs by training them in various useful skills.


“This is what happens when public services are designed and delivered around the needs of New Zealanders and not around organisational boundaries. This is another of the growing number of examples of government agencies working with other organisations and coming up with innovative solutions to deliver truly better public services for New Zealanders.”

-Mr Rennie said

An image of a life skills session results in a lively debate.

A life skills session results in a lively debate.

Are you safe?

The holistic working environment and the Te Whangai philosophy create a safety net for all involved. Te Whangai members return the care and trust provided with loyalty and support. All team members create the rules and devolve rosters to make Te Whangai safe for everyone.

How does Te Whangai help communities safer?

Te Whangai will help make communities safer by motivating and occupying  those at risk, nurturing them in a family environment.

What are your biggest accomplishments so far?

Creating the nursery, planting natives throughout the area, empowering people to help themselves and their family, and finding full time employment for more than 35 people – more details here.