Over the last few years, we have developed and implemented our strategic direction, Te Pae Tawhiti – Our Future, which is supported by Te Pae Tata and Pacific Prosperity, our Māori and Pacific Strategies and Action plans respectively. These sit at the heart of the work we need to do to achieve our three outcomes and help New Zealanders to be safe, strong and independent.

Our purpose – why we exist

Manaaki tangata, Manaaki whānau – the Ministry of Social Development helps New Zealanders to be safe, strong and independent

We promote social and community development by helping to build successful individuals, whānau and communities. We work to contribute positively to the wellbeing of people today and into the future.

The te reo Māori version of our purpose statement is a figurative translation of the English language version, and reflects our overarching purpose of caring for people, whānau and families, communities and all New Zealanders.

Our outcomes – what we want to achieve

Our three outcomes are what we will achieve in order to deliver to our purpose:

New Zealanders get the support they require

We need to provide New Zealanders with all the services and support they are entitled to, and ensure they are confident they will get the financial and other support they need when they need it, including a warm, dry and secure home.

New Zealanders are resilient and live in inclusive and supportive communities

We recognise the diversity of the people, whānau, families and communities we serve, and we are committed to improving their wellbeing. We are improving New Zealanders’ access to tools, skills and resources including financial literacy, to help them to respond better to the challenges in their lives. We support communities to be inclusive, supportive and free from violence. We want people who have experienced harm or do not feel safe to know that help is available and where they can get it.

New Zealanders participate positively in society and reach their potential

We want to improve people’s readiness for and access to employment, while recognising that people also participate through volunteering or caring for whānau and families. We engage with people, families, whānau and communities to understand their aspirations and what is important to them, including their situation, culture and values. We help to connect people with opportunities to realise their goals, reach their potential and grow, and participate positively in society.

Te Pae Tawhiti – our strategic direction

Te Pae Tawhiti presents our strategic direction, describing the three shifts we are making across our organisation in all our work to achieve our outcomes.

Te Pae Tawhiti , which we launched in 2018, signals our intention to do better for all New Zealanders. It sets out how we will bring about positive changes in the wellbeing of the people, whānau, families and communities we serve.

At its heart are three shifts we need to make as an organisation in all our work to achieve our outcomes

Mana manaaki

A parent and a child wrapped in a korowai.A positive experience every time

We will look after the dignity of people with warmth, listening, respect, compassion, openness and fairness, helping people, whānau, families and communities.


A kete.Partnering for greater impact

We are stronger when we work together with whānau, families, hapū, iwi, providers, communities and other government agencies.

Kia takatū tātou

A kōmako (bellbird) perched on a branch.Supporting long-term social and economic development

We will prepare ourselves for the future and take a long-term approach to community, regional and economic development. To improve employment outcomes, we will support people to acquire skills for current and future job markets.

Te Pae Tata – our Māori strategy and action plan

Te Pae Tata, our Māori strategy and action plan, sets out how we will work with Māori to achieve better outcomes. It draws on the wisdom and experiences of whānau, hapū and iwi who engaged with us in its development, of our internal and external Māori reference and leadership groups, and of our people who work alongside Māori every day. Te Pae Tata enhances the kaupapa Māori woven into Te Pae Tawhiti.

Pacific Prosperity – our Pacific strategy and action plan

Pacific Prosperity, our Pacific strategy and action plan, places our Pacific peoples, families and communities at the heart of service development, thinking and decision making. It will rejuvenate the way we deliver services for Pacific peoples, families and communities, so they are safe, thrive and flourish in Aotearoa.

Pacific Prosperity aligns with Te Pae Tawhiti and complements Te Pae Tata. It embraces the shifts described in Te Pae Tawhiti and articulates how they will be realised for Pacific peoples.

Our impacts – what we are focusing on

Our impacts outline the medium-term focus areas we have set to achieve our outcomes, and reflect our contribution to Government priorities and the welfare overhaul work programme.

  • Improve equity of outcomes, particularly for Māori
  • Improve people’s trust and confidence in the welfare system
  • Improve effectiveness of support
  • Reduce the number of people in hardship or insecure housing
  • Improve awareness of and access to support
  • Reduce harm and improve the strength of whānau, families and communities
  • Improve our contribution to industry and regional development
  • Improve the effectiveness of connections across different providers and organisations
  • Improve employment outcomes through sustainable work
  • Improve people’s readiness for work, including through training and education
  • Improve people’s ability to participate meaningfully in society

Leadership Team priorities – what we are working on

Our Leadership Team (LT) sets priorities that provide direction for our business groups and guide the prioritisation of work towards our impacts. They capture priorities set by our Ministers, including through Budgets.

We had five LT priorities in 2020/21.

  • Income support that is easier to access
  • Getting people a home
  • Partnering with others
  • Keeping New Zealanders working
  • Supporting MSD people to help New Zealanders

The progress we have made against these is outlined in other sections of this report.