A special visitor to Kākāriki House

Recently the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern stopped by Kākāriki House to learn more about the vital work we’re doing across the Group in mental health, housing, social justice and wellbeing for young people.


Using data to end homelessness

Alongside Wise Group joint chief executives Jacqui Graham and Julie Nelson, the Prime Minister spent time with service manager Kerry Hawkes and strategic analyst Carole McMinn from The People’s Project to learn about the success they’ve had in Hamilton using the Housing First approach to ending homelessness.

The People’s Project is committed to supporting research that contributes to robust evidence and a framework for developing a model for ending homelessness in New Zealand.

The Prime Minister learned about some of the world-first research The People’s Project is undertaking in partnership with Otago University’s He Kainga Oranga and the University of Waikato’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis.

This joint research programme has the potential to influence evidence-based, cross-sector decision-making for social policy and systems design.

“We simply can’t underestimate the value of having the opportunity to host the Prime Minister and share first-hand the impressive body of evidence we are building that is going to help New Zealand end homelessness. The People’s Project is right there leading some of this work in New Zealand through our unique data capabilities and research partnerships,” said Julie.

Supporting our youth

She then heard from Pathways and Real chief executive, Sally Pitts-Brown, around the work Pathways and Real are doing in the high-needs youth respite space. Sally shared stories about their partnership with Oranga Tamariki to provide customised support to help these young people to obtain the tools and support they need to live positive futures.

“We want to support people through their lifespan – giving young people a safe, home-like space and the support they need to develop life skills and resilience will help them get back on track and avoid the need for Pathways’ adult services later on,” Sally explained to the Prime Minister, who was very interested in the new initiatives.

Celebrating 30 years of the Group

While in the building, the Prime Minister helped launch celebrations to mark the 30th year anniversary of the Wise Group.

It couldn’t have been scripted any better given that thirty years ago the then Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Helen Clark said she believed our tiny little (Rakau Ora) Trust that was establishing could well become a blueprint for the country.

Published on: 12 May 2019