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Improving the wellbeing of all in Aotearoa New Zealand

In the early 2000s, community social service providers around Aotearoa New Zealand realised the need to take collective action and start working better together. A committed group of kaimahi brought a range of skills to the table to work together for a better outcome for us all. Relationships and the act of whakawhanaungatanga has always sat at the heart of SSPA as an organisation, and that continues today.

Early beginnings

In 2002, a formal step was taken and Social Service Providers Aotearoa was registered under the Incorporated Societies Act. Membership quickly climbed from 130 members in 2003 to 192 in 2004 and 255 in 2005, and the focus changed from pure advocacy to also offering learning and development opportunities through regional programmes and an annual conference. This reflected the ongoing need to continue to build capacity and capability across the community-based social services sector, to meet the needs of children, rangatahi, families and whānau.

Strengthening our collective

In 2012, SSPA moved from Ōtautahi to Te Whanganui-a-Tara and a National Manager was employed. Through these developments SSPA’s relationships evolved, and SSPA deepened a mandate to speak on behalf of the sector, building credibility and respect, and a recognised a voice that people were ready to listen to and engage with, based on the maatauranga and relationship-based approach that SSPA brought forward.

Continued evolution

Supporting a thriving, sustainable community-based social service sector remains the focus of SSPA today, and the origins of our organisation continue to inform today’s mahi. Collective, constructive action as a national organisation continues to be our focus, championing community-based social services and our social sector, and the impact made every day for children, rangatahi and whānau.

Our mahi today

In 2022, SSPA celebrated 20 years of service, and began the journey of evolving the organisation’s identity to reflect and connect with the times we are in. An evolved name was announced, Social Service Providers Te Pai Ora o Aotearoa, with the rerenga kōrero, Te Pai Ora o Aotearoa having been gifted by Ngāti Toa Rangatira.

Our name and visual identity

Te Pai Ora o Aotearoa indirectly translates as ‘to improve the wellbeing of Aotearoa’. It reflects our mahi as an organisation over the past 20 years, while representing the continued aspirations and goals we have as a collective membership of community based social services. It’s about advocating for our whānau and communities, the innate potential of our children and rangatahi, and for government support of the people and our members. SSPA is grateful to Ngāti Toa Rangatira kaumatua, Dr Taku Parai, for his awhi, manaaki and tautoko and for the gift of the rerenga kōrero, developed in partnership with SSPA and Ocean Design. SSPA has been grateful to work with the talented team at Ocean Design who have brought the visual project to life.


Recognising the evolution of SSPA and seeking to reflect the value of SSPA members’ mahi, SSPA’s visual identity has evolved, to better express and bring to life the essence of the organisation’s mahi, as an inclusive, progressive membership-based organisation, championing children, rangatahi and whānau and Aotearoa New Zealand’s community-based social services. SSPA’s evolved tohu continues to feature the koru and rau tākiri (fern buds), but in a new stylised form. Different stakeholders are represented by the different forms, and SSPA is expressed as wrapping around our communities and hapori. Our tohu represents new potential, growth and unfurling development amongst SSPA’s membership and the families, whānau and hapori SSPA members work with and in.