Enabling Good Lives (EGL) and Mana Whaikaha

What is EGL?

EGL stands for ‘Enabling Good Lives’ which is a concept created in 2011, when the Minister for Disability Issues, Hon Tariana Turia, invited the Ministries of Social Development and Health to work with an independent working group of disability sector stakeholders to develop a ‘clean sheet’ approach to community participation and day services for disabled people.

The EGL approach aims to enable disabled people to have more choice and control over the supports they need to go about their daily lives. It also seeks to assist whānau and friends in acquiring the skills, confidence and information they need to support disabled people to live an everyday life in everyday places.

The aim of the EGL approach is for disabled people to feel included in their local community; for government funding of disability support services to be timely, integrated and flexible; and for government agencies to work together to fund person-centred services that support disabled people to live good lives.

The demonstrations will continue to gather information about how the EGL approach works, the costs involved and how to implement changes across the disability system.

What’s the difference between EGL and Mana Whaikaha?

In 2012, the Ministries of Social Development and Health worked with disability sector organisations to test the EGL approach in Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton in consultation. This led to demonstrations of how to use the EGL model in practice with people from the disability sector. Some demonstrations are still ongoing, but the information gathered, and lessons learned so far from the EGL demonstrations have been used to create a new prototype for disability support called Mana Whaikaha.  Mana Whaikaha is a prototype of a transformed disability support system which is funded by the New Zealand Government, through the Ministry of Health. The prototype, which will operate on a ‘try, learn and adjust’ approach, is being tested in the Midcentral DHB region, which includes these districts: Palmerston North, Horowhenua, Manawatu, Ōtaki and Tararua.

Most importantly, Mana Whaikaha and EGL focus on what people CAN do, rather than what they CAN’T do, and works to support people with disabilities in doing these things by using funding to make their world more accessible.

What’s happening in Waikato, Christchurch and Manawatu?

The EGL approach was first developed in Christchurch to demonstrate how the principles-based approach can be used to make it easier for people to live good lives of their own choosing, in communities that truly value who they are and what they have to offer.  There are still demonstrations happening in Christchurch that people can be involved with.  These demonstrations are also happening in the Waikato and in March 2017 Nicky Wagner, the Minister of Disability Issues announced that the two-year EGL Waikato demonstration will be extended. The demonstration will now continue until 30th June 2019.

Manawatu is one area currently testing the Mana Whaikaha prototype which is based on the work done through the EGL demonstrations

Is this going to be a national programme?

The purpose of the Mid-Central prototype is to find out what works and what doesn’t work and improve the programme for the benefit of disabled people.  In doing so, it is hoped that Mana Whaikaha is shown to be a more successful, all-encompassing and cost-effective way of supporting people with disabilities to live a normal life and be part of their communities in ways that are meaningful to them.  In the first month after the launch of Mana Whaikaha in Mid-Central, over 200 people reached out to access the new system, so it seems there is a great need and demand for it.  While there are no guarantees, if the 2-year pilot programme shows significant, positive results it is hoped to be launched across New Zealand eventually.  However, this is a seismic shift in service delivery, so changing it across the country is a very long-term goal.

Can I get EGL or Mana Whaikaha where I live?

If you live in the Waikato or Christchurch areas, you can access EGL demonstrations through their website –

If you live in the MidCentral region mentioned earlier, you can access Mana Whaikaha through their website –

Who can I speak to for more information?

As well as the websites for EGL and Mana Whaikaha, you can also contact Parent to Parent for more information on the system transformation. Janine Morrah is the Regional Co-ordinator for the MidCentral area and has been directly involved with the prototype roll-out.

You can also listen to our podcast on EGL and Mana Whaikaha via our website: check out programmes 25 a & b for interviews and discussion.


louise ratcliffe
Louise Ratcliffe
Information Officer
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