About us

We work on challenging social sector problems to improve people’s lives.

From 1 July 2024 we will become the Social Investment Agency, a new stand-alone central agency. We will lead the implementation of social investment and provide cross-sector insights to decision-makers to improve people’s lives. 

We have four new functions:

  • Setting the standards for social investment practice to ensure there is consistency across government agencies and contracted providers
  • Advising on and facilitating the creation of the data and evidence infrastructure for social investment
  • Working with other agencies to apply the social investment approach
  • Leading an ongoing review of social sector spending to measure outcomes.

We report to the Minister for Social Investment Hon Nicola Willis(external link) who sets the priorities for the portfolio and agrees the Agency's work programme.

As a central agency, we are focused on the operation of the system of government agencies, supporting agencies to comply with the Government’s directions (e.g., through standards and guidance), and monitoring delivery against the Government’s work programme and priorities.

We want to achieve the greatest impact

We focus our efforts on where we can make the greatest impact to lead and shine a light on policy issues that affect the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

We are a multi-disciplinary team comprising data scientists, business and data analysts, policy thinkers, researchers, evaluators and communicators. We collaborate across the system advising on policy issues that fall between the gaps. Ultimately, we want our approaches to achieve sustainable improvements for the wellbeing of New Zealanders. 

We deliver advanced data analytics and insights in a cost-effective way, ensuring that we re-invest in system infrastructure and tools that will benefit the public service in the long term. 

We use a broad and inclusive set of measures that tell us whether people are leading full, meaningful lives. We create tools and practices to target gaps in the social sector’s knowledge. We partner with the social sector, combining science, data and lived experience to produce insights and evidence.

Toi Hau Tāngata

Our name Toi Hau Tāngata signifies the valuable aspects of living life – manifesting in the wellbeing of the people. The individual words have many meanings, including: Toi - peak, Hau - vital essence and Tāngata - humankind.

Mohi Apou of Taranaki-Whanganui descent gifted the name to us. Toi Hau Tāngata comes from a karakia unique to Taranaki-Whanganui Iwi, ‘Te Hau Tai Tāngata’ – the principles influencing the creation of mankind. The karakia is not written but passed from one generation to the next as the taonga tuku iho, or oral tradition. Our reo Māori name aligns with our vision that ‘People, whānau and communities live the life to which they aspire’.