This site has not been optimised for Internet Explorer due to Microsoft no longer providing support for the browser. Please view this site using another browser such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
Te Pū rauemi KOWHEORI-19 COVID-19 resource hub

Support for people working in health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find information about how you can support yourselves and others, including consumers, teams and colleagues which complements and aligns with Ministry of Health resources.

Kia āta kōwhiri Choosing Wisely

The Choosing Wisely campaign seeks to reduce harm from unnecessary and low-value tests and treatment.

Back to previous page

Code of expectations for health entities' engagement with consumers and whānau [web version]

12 Jan 2024


The code of expectations for health entities’ engagement with consumers and whānau (the code) sets the expectations for how health entities must work with consumers, whānau and communities in the planning, design, delivery and evaluation of health services. This code is required by the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022 and is underpinned by the health sector principles. All health entities must act in accordance with the code and are required to report annually on how the code has been applied. The health sector principles incorporate Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) principles identified by the Waitangi Tribunal in its Hauora Inquiry. These include the principles of tino rangatiratanga (self-determination); ōritetanga (equity); whakamaru (active protection); kōwhiringa (options); and pātuitanga (partnership) [1]. This code does not replace the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (Code of Rights) [2]. The Code of Rights specifies important rights that providers must uphold when delivering services directly to consumers, whereas this code sets requirements for how health entities must work with consumers, whānau and communities in the planning, design, delivery and evaluation of health services.

Engagement expectations

1. When engaging with consumers, whānau and communities, health entities must:

1.1  be guided by the health sector principles contained in section 7 of the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022 

1.2  value and recognise the centrality and importance of whānau in te ao Māori and provide opportunities for Māori to exercise decision-making authority

1.3  value engagement: engagement is built on trust, authenticity, reciprocity, transparency and a willingness to share and learn from each other. It is inclusive of all population groups and those with specific needs 

1.4  share leadership: knowledge and expertise drawn from lived experience are valued equally alongside clinical and other knowledge. Consumers, whānau and communities are experts by experience, often holding solutions to make improvements to the health system

1.5  promote quality and safety: the experience of consumers, whānau and communities underpins health quality and safety, including cultural safety

1.6  promote equity: there is an imperative to engage with those with greater health needs, particularly Māori, Pacific peoples and disabled people. This recognises that addressing equity is best achieved through involving consumers, whānau and communities.

2. Health entities must apply these expectations by:

2.1   co-designing with consumers, whānau and communities so there is collective development of organisational priorities, processes and evaluation, and consumers, whānau and communities are involved at all levels

2.2   using lived experience, including consumer experience data to inform improvements in health services with a focus on reducing health inequities, particularly for Māori, Pacific peoples and disabled people

2.3   addressing the reduction of health inequities through cross-sector collaboration with other agencies and in partnership with consumers, whānau and communities

2.4  ensuring that information, resources, and engagement opportunities are accessible to all consumers, whānau and communities, and remove any barriers that may hinder full and effective participation and engagement [3]

2.5   resourcing consumers, whānau and communities to contribute and engage meaningfully and having policies to reflect this

2.6   ensuring that, when services are commissioned, they are set up to enable consumers, whānau and communities to engage at all levels as determined by the code.


[1] Principles described in: Waitangi Tribunal. 2019. Hauora: Report on Stage One of the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry (Wai 2575). URL:

[2] Health and Disability Commissioner. 1996. Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights. Wellington: Health and Disability Commissioner. URL:

[3] United Nations. 2006. United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. URL: desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html.

Publishing details

Published August 2022 (reprinted May 2023) by Te Tāhū Hauora Health Quality & Safety Commission PO Box 25496, Wellington 6146. Email, website, consumer enquiries 0800 275 742.

Other versions of the code

Visit this webpage to find other versions of the code, including in multiple languages and accessible formats. 

Published: 12 Jan 2024 Modified: 12 Jan 2024