News and Events

This section is dedicated to providing news items within the Midland region, celebrate events that have occurred  and provide updates on the various regional projects that we are working on.  This page is interactive and is updated as events happen.  It will replace the Midland Matters Newsletter.

If you have a news item or a celebration that you would like us to highlight, please send your write up to Akatu Marsters at akatu.marsters (at)


HSL Tairawhiti

A New Direction

Healthcare in Tairawhiti is heading in a new direction. That new direction involves working closer with community health partners to look at how we move health care services closer to people's homes and closer to a model that meets people's needs.

We have a new kaupapa that reflects this:

Whaia te Hauora i roto i te kotahitanga - A healthier Tairawhiti by working together

We have new values centred on our waka heritage and a new name for our organisation Hauora Tairawhiti. We are still a district health board but we want our name to reflect the people we serve and the fact that we are about the wellbeing of the people of Tairawhiti not just the services provided at Gisborne Hospital.

Why Change?

People in Tairawhiti have a lower life expectancy than anyone where else in New Zealand. Maori living in Tairawhiti, almost 50 percent of our population - do not enjoy the same health outcomes as non-Maori. On-average Tairawhiti Maori die five years younger.

Maori are more likely to be admitted to hospital when a hospital stay could be avoided if they had been treated in the community.

The current model of health care in Tairawhiti is not meeting the needs of our population.

The difference in health outcomes between Maori and non-Maori is unacceptable. We need to act to change this. We must improve Maori health outcomes and extend life expectancy for all.

Changes Ahead

To make the necessary improvements we will be transforming how health care is delivered in Tairawhiti.

We can't achieve this alone; the solution sits with all Tairawhiti health and wellbeing focused organisations working seamlessly together.

Hauora Tairawhiti will be facilitating a co-design process that actively seeks new ways of working both within our organisation and externally. People who use health services, whānau, staff and our community partners will be invited to participate.

We will explore new models of how we care for people to improve the patient experience. Nobody wants to come to hospital if they don't have to. While we will always have Gisborne Hospital, the focus will be on moving away from hospital based care towards care closer to home.

For more information visit the Hauora Tairawhiti website at


HSL Taranaki

How Taranaki is Leading the Way in Outcomes

tdhb.gifTaranaki DHB is regularly one of the best performing DHBs in the country for outcomes measurement collection. Outcomes and clinical information projects officer Graham Donlon attributes this to organisational policies, leadership, staff commitment and effective training.

Graham is passionate about collecting measurements and has been a major driver behind the DHB consistently exceeding national targets for HoNOS compliance.  Graham says, “Good health professionals want to help people get better, but how do you know if our service users are improving if you don’t measure change over time? Outcomes measures, such as the HoNOS tools, can help to show if consumers are improving, remain stable or are deteriorating. Good compliance is needed to ensure there is enough data to analyse so we can determine if the measurements capture the impact the service has on people who use it. It is really important clinical information.”

Click here to read more....

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Alcohol and Drug Service

TDHB AD BrochureThe Alcohol and Drug Service provides outpatient assessment and treatment services for client with alcohol and/or drug misuse, or people affected by another's alcohol and/or drug addiction.

The counsellors work closely with the Adult Mental Health teams regarding the assessment and treatment of clients with a co-existing psychiatric disorder.

The service offers early intervention/screening services, assessment and access to intensive residential programmes, (including clients under the Alcohol and Drug Act), and a regional opioid programme in collaboration with a network of General Practitioners and pharmacies. We have established a community based detoxification programme. 

Click here to view the Alcohol and Drug Service brochure.


HSL Waikato

Derek WrightInterim Chief Executive for Waikato DHB appointed

I’m pleased to announce that Derek Wright has been appointed to the post of Interim Chief Executive for the DHB with immediate effect.

As you know, Derek is currently our Executive Director of Mental Health and Addictions Services. He replaces Dr Nigel Murray who resigned on 5 October.

The Board has observed Derek’s successful leadership of our mental health services over the last couple of years and in particular how well he has worked with our clinical leaders which will be critical for us going forward. The Board was unanimous in their endorsement of Derek for this role.

I believe our DHB can be a high performing one, and we are already doing a lot of really good work that can often be overshadowed. The Board expects the interim chief executive to play an active role in shaping the DHB’s future. This is not a caretaker role and Derek has the Board’s support to make any changes needed to ensure we are delivering high quality services to the people of the Waikato and improving the health of our population.

I’d like to thank Chief of Staff Neville Hablous for acting in the role during difficult times, until an interim chief executive could be appointed. Neville indicated he did not want the interim role but I look forward to continue to work with him at the DHB.

Recruitment of the permanent chief executive will start immediately and I’m keen that staff are really involved in the process. We want to take our time to make a good appointment and want to talk to staff about what qualities they want to see in their new chief executive.

Vicki Aitken who is currently Director Adult Mental Health & Addiction services will act into the role of Executive Director, Mental Health and Addictions Services while Derek is in the interim chief executive role.

Bob Simcock, Chair, Waikato DHB

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Big launch for Youth INtact drug & alcohol service

Youth INtactThe new Waikato wide youth drug and alcohol service Youth INtact celebrated its official launch (15 March) in Garden Place, Hamilton. The approach was to celebrate with youth for youth in the Waikato. Rangatahi / young people from local high schools entertained the public with songs, poetry and kapa haka.

Funded by the Waikato District Health Board and delivered by Odyssey to the wider Hamilton region, Youth INtact began providing services in October 2016, and opened their new Hamilton premises on Level 2, 1 Garden Place, Hamilton on 15 March.

The service has delivered a new look and approach for how youth with alcohol and drug problems and their whānau/families receive the help they need.

Youth INtact services are also available in the wider Waikato DHB catchment communities through three other providers:

  • CareNZ who provide Youth INtact in Tokoroa/Putaruru
  • Taumarunui Community Kokiri Trust covering Te Kuiti, Otorohanga and Taumarunui
  • Te Korowai o Hauraki covering Hauraki, Thames/Coromandel.

Since the service started an average of 183 young people per month are being seen by all Youth INtact providers.

Odyssey chief executive Fiona Trevelyan spoke at the event "Odyssey is honoured to have been selected to work alongside our Youth INtact partners to help implement the Waikato rangatahi/youth AOD model of care".

We are hugely grateful to the Waikato District Health Board for selecting us and supporting us all to deliver this bold and innovative service that places youth at its very heart “ a service developed by the community, for the community," said Trevelyan.

We have been overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity of our partner agencies, the communities and schools that have welcomed us and who walk beside us, as well as the rural community houses and services who have welcomed us in and shared their space with us.

Youth INtact has been developed with lots of feedback from clinicians, communities, rangatahi/young people and family/whānau.

The message was loud and clear from what they wanted, and included quick and easy access to youth friendly and youth specific services that are professional, holistic and culturally responsive. They also wanted the ability for early intervention and assertive follow up when there is a problem.

The Waikato Youth AOD project started in 2014. The Ministry of Health provided funding to develop a fresh solution for young people in the Waikato experiencing drug and alcohol problems, including youth with co-existing mental health problems.

For more information about Youth INtact and the services it provides visit

Youth INteract


HSL Bay of Plenty

Youth drugs service report no rise in methamphetamine use in the Bay of Plenty

The largest youth drugs service in the Bay of Plenty says it has seen no rise in referrals for methamphetamine use in recent months.

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board's (BOPDHB) Youth Alcohol and other Drugs (AOD) service, Sorted, says less than 10 of the 230-250 referrals it receives a year would have used methamphetamine.

"As part of our work in the Bay of Plenty we have observed little change in reasons for why young people are referred to our service, with this primarily being due to cannabis and/or alcohol use," said Sorted Registered Social Worker Caleb Putt, of the group which works primarily with young people under 18 years old.

"Anecdotally, there has been little evidence of any change to young people's patterns of use in the community as we interact with our key referring services, such as: Youth Justice, Police Youth Aid, hospital emergency departments, secondary schools and alternative education providers.

"Typically there would be less than 10 young people a year referred to Sorted who have ever tried methamphetamine, and only two or three a year for whom methamphetamine is their substance of choice - or at least are meeting criteria for problematic use of this substance."

Sorted emphasises youth friendliness, accessibility and maintaining a focus on engagement in delivering its service said Caleb.

"This is regardless of what substance a young person is using as for most young people they are sceptical and often reluctant about wanting to engage with an AOD service.

"Confidentiality, flexibility (in terms of where young people are seen) and emphasising harm reduction and safety messages are all important aspects of service delivery, with any hint of judgement or talk of abstinence likely to disengage most young people.

"Young people who are thinking about using or who are using methamphetamine will get this same quality of service as any other young person," he added.

Sorted not only works with young people referred due to AOD use but also with young people experiencing mental health difficulties as well as AOD problems, and are based within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

Other Youth AOD services that are available to young people include Get Smart, Te Manu Toroa, Nga Kakano Foundation, Ngaiterangi Iwi Trust and Maketu Hauora, Tuhoe Hauora, Tuwharetoa Ki Kawerau, Te Whanau Apanui and Emerge Aotearoa.

James Full - Communications, BOP DHB

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Linkage - Directory to Support Youth in Eastern BOP

Linkage has produced a colourful mini-directory to support young people in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Covering Whakatane, Kawerau and Opotiki, the pocket directory is aimed at linking young people who have general health or wellbeing concerns to accessible services. For copies of the pocket-sized directory to distribute, please contact: or 0800 932 432. The hard-copy directory is complemented by, the newly launched website featuring the Webhealth directory and a community noticeboard.


HSL Lakes

A Quiet Place, Thanks to the Patient Comfort Fund

Whare WhakauePatients at the Whare Whakaue Inpatient Unit at Rotorua Hospital now have a cosy quiet space to settle down with a book, thanks to a grant from the Patient Comfort Fund.   Lakes DHB has a certain amount of money that can go to items for patient comfort, from a grant from Rotorua Trust.

Diversional Art Therapist Paul McCann says the service was delighted to have a grant of $900 to help set up a quiet reading space for patients. He says they wanted to create a pleasant area where patients could go and read a book, or write a letter, or just sit quietly.  Paul says Friends of the Library provided a good amount of books, with other book donations coming from staff.