The Minister responsible for Whanau Ora, Tariana Turia, says the policy will make a difference but it will take some time to fix 170 years of Maori reliance on government.
The Whanau Ora legislation requires agencies to work together with families, empowering the whanau as a whole rather than working with individual members.
Mrs Turia made the comment during a conference at which the Families Commission released a report on Maori success over the past three decades.
She told the crowd of nearly 200 that, before the report launch, she had been challenged on when the impact of Whanau Ora would become clear and that is one thing that has disturbed her.
"After 170 years of our lives being in the hands of others, I think it's going to take a little bit longer than a year to create the change."