The Kaiāwhina Workforce Plan 2020-2025 builds on the progress made through the first five-year Kaiāwhina Workforce Plan 2015-2020. A mandate of support for the work of the Plan comes from the two sponsor organisations.  The Ministry of Health and Toitū te Waiora, the Workforce Development Council for Community, Health, Education and Social Services. Within the Ministry of Health, the Plan sits within the Health Workforce Directorate and the Health Workforce Advisory Board.

The Plan is a living document which can be refreshed as priorities and circumstances change.  The intent is to be agile and relevant to workforce needs in a dynamic health and disability services environment.


The Plan Sponsors and the Kaiawhina Workforce Taskforce acknowledge the leadership and resource commitment made by Industry Training Organisation, Careerforce over the 2014-2021 period which resulted in significant progress for the kaiāwhina workforce.

Kaiāwhina Workforce Taskforce Providing Stewardship to the Plan

The strategic direction for the Plan is led by the Kaiāwhina Workforce Taskforce, a stewardship group with membership from a broad range of stakeholders, including consumers and kaiāwhina, committed to achieving the priorities and goals expressed in the Plan.  The Taskforce meets virtually five times per annum and is Co-Chaired by the Deputy-Director General, Health Workforce, Ministry of Health and the Chief Executive Officer, Toitū te Waiora (Workforce Development Council).  If you are interested in knowing more about the Taskforce, please contact

Workforce in Action

The website developed in 2014 was refreshed by Careerforce and given the new name in October 2021 reflecting the fact that ‘kaiāwhina’ is now widely embraced as the term used by the health and disability sector to reflect the mana and contribution of this large and diverse workforce.


Mā te āwhina, e ora ai te torohū o te kaiāwhina 

Nurturing the limitless potential of the kaiāwhina workforce.


The Kaiāwhina Workforce Plan 2020-2025

The programme of work drawn from workforce stakeholders has five core priorities that form the framework of the Plan’s focus.

1.         Building cultural capability

This mahi acknowledges the importance of tangata whenua and Te Ao Māori. It appreciates the criticality of understanding the importance and success of inclusive community movements like Whānau ora.

It also recognises that Aotearoa is a nation of increasing cultural diversity where complex inequalities exist. It acknowledges that the Kaiāwhina workforce, through their work with whānau and communities, can assist to increase equitable health outcomes.

2.         Connecting Kaiāwhina

It is recognised that Kaiāwhina should be more involved in the mahi of the Taskforce.  This will be achieved by creating a mechanism for Kaiāwhina to shape and influence the output of the group through meaningful contribution.

The moemoeā sees Kaiāwhina as leaders, helping to inform strategies and future service delivery solutions. COVID-19 experiences highlighted that there are gaps in understanding about what Kaiāwhina do in communities, improved understanding will enhance decision making.

3.        Accelerating new ways of working and eco-system thinking

The ambition of this priority has grown with COVID-19. During rāhui/lockdown Taskforce members acknowledged positive, new ways of working and expressed the criticality to learn from these. The pandemic response has shown the necessity for whole of system thinking and solution design.

Taskforce members highlighted how the response to the pandemic had clearly shown the necessity for the health system to work together to find innovative ways to respond to the challenges.  This involved rethinking what roles Kaiāwhina perform, how they work alongside regulated professions, and the wider appreciation of the role they play in the health system.

4.     Creating workforce knowledge and data

This priority recognises that while some progress has been made, there remains a paucity of joined up data about the workforce and to date, no consistent data language, centralised system or go to organisation. In addition, COVID-19 identified the need to develop greater understanding about what Kaiāwhina do in communities and created a sense of urgency to understand the benefits and potential of emerging initiatives.

5.     Supplying and developing the workforce

Workforce supply is potentially seeing the greatest game changer ever as COVID-19 redefines employment and gives visibility and value to essential workforces including Kaiāwhina. Also new on the horizon are the education and training opportunities that could be realised as part of the Review of Vocational Education. This priority also acknowledges the diversity of communities in Aotearoa and the desire to have a workforce that can support and where possible reflect them. The challenge for this priority is to move quickly but also in time with employer and stakeholder needs, recognising demands on resources and competing priorities.

More about the Kaiāwhina Workforce Plan 2020-2025 here