Department of Internal Affairs: Whetūrangitia

Catalyst continues to collaborate with DIA to provide a new invaluable support service to New Zealanders.

The homescreen of Whetūrangitia - watercolour affect with blues and white starts.


The Department of Internal Affairs is leading a digital initiative to bring together information and services from different government agencies and associated organisations all in one place. Warning, some of the following content may be upsetting.



Every year 700-900 Kiwi families who lose a child through stillbirth, foetal abnormality, neonatal death, and sudden infant death, while miscarriages affect 13,000 to 15,000 families.

Interacting with government agencies at this time of grief should be as simple and respectful as possible for those families.

Families need to be able to access the relevant services, entitlements and information from a range of different agencies, and they should not have to wander a bureaucratic maze to do so.

Prior to this service, there were disparities between someone’s location and the amount of information they might receive about services and support available to them. 

When a parent is in a state of trauma, it is not realistic to expect them to collect various brochures, scroll through multiple websites and read pages of information. 

Bereaved parents were in need of a single, reliable, and accessible support resource to act as a gateway to verified information. DIA saw this as an opportunity to make a change, and make a difference.



In just four months, Catalyst has collaborated with the Department of Internal Affairs to create Whetūrangitia, a support resource for parents, family and whānau who have suffered the death of a child or baby. 

This platform entailed collaboration and integration between ourselves and DIA, Ministry of Justice, Inland Revenue, The Service Innovation Lab and Sands (a not-for-profit Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support organisation).

Thanks to the collaboration and integration of multiple parties, the new website ensures people can access in-depth information about all the support and services available to them.

This support resource caters specifically to stillbirth, miscarriage, neonatal death, fetal abnormality, or the death of a young child or infant.

Information includes financial entitlements such as paid parental leave, Best Start payments, Work and Income funeral grants, and bereavement leave; along with support resources such as counselling, bereavement literature, helplines, and a range of other resources that can provide help to bereaved parents. The kind of information that needs to be easy to find and digest.

Catalyst is honoured to play a part in the forming of this resource. Gretta Seebeck, from the Catalyst team, said, "We are immensely proud of playing a role in this project and grateful to be doing work that makes a difference."


Catalyst has been pivotal in the visual and content design work for Whetūrangitia. They believe in the product and are true to the user research. They have our back's as we have theirs' It's a beautiful partnership that continues to grow.
-Becky Cassam, Manager of DIA’s Life Events team.


Why ‘Whetūrangitia’?

In traditional whaikōrero (oratory speeches) Māori refers to the passing of a person as a 'star' that returns to the sky to join the multitude of ancestors. Whetūrangitia means "stars that adorn the sky". The whakataukī (proverb), "Kua whetūrangitia koe", in this context means, "Return, take your place amongst the stars along with your ancestors that adorn the sky".

"The design work itself needed to reflect the meaning behind whetūrangitia", Cheryl Browne, Catalysts Design lead, said "To convey the true human warmth and feeling behind this message, I created the hand-done watercolour artwork to show Papatūānuku - the earth mother, in the footer returning the children as stars to Ranginui - the sky father."

Together Catalyst and DIA have built SmartStartTe Hokinga ā Wairua – End of Life Services and Death Documents; the Services team feel honoured to have played a part in the forming of another valuable platform and look forward to evolving our partnership with the Department of Internal Affairs as they continue to advance New Zealand's government digital services. 



If you would like to follow the DIA as they continue to design and deliver accesible goverement services, you can follow them on Twitter and their the SmartStart and Te Hokinga ā Wairua Facebook pages.