Whānau Ora Navigators

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Project Background

Whānau Ora Navigators work with whānau and families to identify their needs and aspirations, support their participation in core sectors such as housing, education, primary health and employment and link and coordinate access to specialist services.  Navigators assist whānau to set long-term goals and encourage them to take charge in working towards them.  The purpose of this research was to create an initial understanding of the Navigators approach in Te Waipounmau.  Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu sought to understand the impact navigators were having for whānau in Te Waipounamu and how whānau perceived the navigation experience. The research will be used to inform the future development of Navigation across Te Waipounamu. 

What we did

The evaluation consisted of one on one interviews with 27 Navigators across Te Waipounamu, seven chief executives or managers from Navigator host agencies and two whānau, this provided perspectives from all those involved in the Navigation journey.  The data was analysed using NVivo using an inductive sorting process.


Navigators are having a significant impact in Te Waipounamu, particularly for whānau who have complex needs.  Case narratives demonstrate how whānau with support from a Navigator made positive progress by taking small steps toward a larger goal.  The relationship between the Navigator and the whānau was clearly the most important enabler for change.  There is consistency between how Navigators view their support and how these whānau experience the support.

Recommendations were made to continually improve the Navigator network; creating a foundation of reflective learning, introducing an induction process, investigating qualifications and recognition, developing a whānau outcome progression framework and strengthening relationships with host agencies. 

Find out how we can help you

We’ll work with you to find out what’s working, where investment could be put to best use or how to improve anything not going to plan. We can help you define success and set tangible, measurable goals. And we talk in real language so you can understand and engage with the findings. We engage with the community to conduct community research and consultations for private companies, trusts, government agencies, NGOs and more. But we have a special interest in research that has a purpose - to better society and teach lessons. We aim to help those we work with build capacity to enact positive change