A kuia who helped found Maori language pre-schools says the Whanau Ora structure will survive even if it loses taxpayer funding.
The initiative aims to gives whanau hope and responsibility, by channelling taxpayer-funded support and welfare services through the extended family.
Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi describes the scheme as an exciting policy.
Whanau Ora works, she says in a wide-ranging interview on Radio New Zealand's Sunday Morning programme.
Whanau Ora policies are absolutely magic, because they represent a way of getting to people using Maori skills and knowledge, and at the same time give them hope, purpose and dignity.
Dame Iritana, of Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu, says the scheme will last - with or without state funding - because the concept is correct.