Public Procurement Project of the Year

New Kaupapa Māori Primary (Community) Mental Health and Addiction Services Procurement, Ministry of Health New Zealand

A key component of the Wellbeing Budget launched by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is addressing disparities in the health status of Māori people, who are less likely to report good, very good or excellent health than any other group. 

Traditional procurement methods have failed to meet the needs of Māori; sector feedback highlighting that procurement was complex, costly, and time-consuming to participate in. Data showed that Māori providers had, over time, focused largely on European clinical models of care meaning that traditional Māori wellbeing models had effectively taken a ‘back seat’. 

Armed with this information, the Ministry of Health decided that a fresh approach to sourcing services was needed. It therefore set about initiating a programme to expand access to mental health and addiction services and develop new services to better meet needs. 

The challenge was to deliver an innovative kaupapa Māori centric procurement process, but in a way that complied with all government requirements. The Ministry of Health’s process weaved together tikanga Māori (Māori protocols, language and rituals), with sound procurement practices. Key elements of the process included korero (discussion) and Wānanga (oral proposals). Thanks to this approach, 11,000 Māori will now receive traditional Māori wellbeing services delivered by Māori providers.