He Oranga Poutama is a Sport NZ initiative that supports Māori well-being through sport and recreation. In 2009, the programme evolved from a focus on increasing the participation by Māori in sport, to one of participating and leading as Māori in sport and traditional physical recreation at community level. This shift in direction to an as Māori focus signalled that Sport NZ recognised the cultural distinctiveness aspect of the new programme goal and the importance of culturally distinctive pathways for sport and recreation if Māori were to participate as Māori. Sport NZ, along with other government agencies, was coming to realise that a strong and secure cultural identity for Māori helps facilitate their access to wider society, as well as being vital to overall wellbeing; and was willing, through the He Oranga Poutama initiative, to invest in and enable a stronger platform for Māori to participate as Māori.
Contributed by Nan Wehipeihana