In April 2008 the Ministry of Health announced a significant investment aimed at strengthening the Māori health and disability workforce. This investment included a commitment to fostering clinical leadership and supporting the professional development of Māori nurses and midwives.
A project team developed a proposal in November 2008 that was agreed to by the Ministry of Health in March 2009. The Steering Group was established in September 2009 and gave the name Ngā Manukura o Āpōpō to the programme of work.
The Ministry appointed the Auckland District Health Board as the first host District Health Board to set up and implement the National Māori Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Development Programme. In October 2012 the programme transferred to the Northland District Health Board. In December 2017 the Ministry of Health extended the contract for a further three years to December 2019.