Whānau as First Navigators

To support and strengthen whānau wellbeing so tamariki and whānau can lead their own aspirations without state intervention.


‘Whānau as First Navigators’ recalls the Ngāi Tahu historical tradition of Rākaihautū, helmsman of the waka ‘Uruao’, who made his journey from Te Patunui o Aio to Aotearoa.

This tradition exhorts us to enable and assist whānau to lead themselves to and on their own journeys, and to provide service for whānau to make that journey with the support, resource, and knowledge they require to do so successfully. It  focuses on whānau accessing the support they need when and how they require it. This means building and enhancing capacity and capability on the ground with whānau, hapū and Papatipu Rūnanga to ensure support is accessible, culturally responsive and tailored to meet the needs and aspirations of our whānau.

The name reflects the determination, expertise and resilience that flows through the whakapapa of tamariki and whānau and their potential to navigate through the many challenges they face on their oranga, wellbeing and aspirations journey.


The Ngāi Tahu journey, from the arrival and settlement in Te Waipounamu to Kerēme and the Deed of Settlement, reinforces the strength and ability for whānau, hapū, Papatipu Rūnanga and iwi to determine and achieve their own wellbeing needs.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu are being deliberate in our approach to ensure the Whānau as First Navigators programme is informed by and centred on whānau voice, designed, delivered and led by Ngāi Tahu social service providers and Papatipu Runanga and supported by experts. The approach focuses on four key areas.

This Service is available at

Register at Te kāika

We are accepting enrolments for all our medical clinics, fill out our registration form by following the link below.

Enquire about our social services

Contact our Social Services team.