Whanaungatanga Ora: a healthy relationships programme for people who have neurodiversity or an intellectual disability

Whanaungatanga Ora is a programme developed by Tautoko Mai specifically for rangatahi and adults who have an intellectual disability and/or cognitive differences about how to have happy, healthy and safe relationships to prevent sexual violence.

This programme aligns with Whaikaha, the new ‘Ministry for Disabled People’ and incorporates aspects of the ‘Enabling Good Lives’ approach. It includes making safe and meaningful connections with friends, whanau and where appropriate dating, building confidence, enhancing mana, equality, inclusiveness, seeking individual and community support and forming healthy respectful relationships with others.

Available to all Cognitive Abilities

  • Group A – higher functioning: Semi-independent, dating or thinking about dating, often forming new friendships independently and accessing the community regularly.

  • Group B - medium cognitive abilities: Require regular support in most aspects of daily living and when accessing the community. They will build relationships with others but require support to maintain and initiate these. They may struggle to understand how to communicate assertively when in pressured situations. 

  • Group C - highly supported needs: May have difficulty communicating their emotional and physical needs to others. They depend entirely or almost entirely on caregivers/support workers to maintain a safe and healthy life. Many participants in this group are non-verbal.


Our trained facilitators deliver the sessions in pairs in your organisation. Each group participates in six, one-hour sessions across six weeks, and this can be altered to meet the needs of any group. All sessions are individually tailored to participant’s intellectual and cognitive functioning needs. The programme can include visual aids/stimulus; assistive technology; cultural activities; role play; videos; worksheets; music; small groups; art materials; practical tasks and use of sensory tools. Whanaungatanga Ora uses varied communication techniques, and the sessions are in achievable sections. Whanaungatanga Ora is fully funded (free) and available to all individuals with, and organisations or schools who support people with, a wide range of disabilities. We are successfully delivering this programme in high schools and adult disability agencies throughout the Bay of Plenty.

Please contact the Consent Education team at Tautoko Mai if we can support you with this programme. Email [email protected]