National News & Events

This section is dedicated to providing news items within New Zealand and to celebrate events that have occurred.  This page is interactive and is updated as events happen. If you have a news item or a celebration that you would like us to highlight, please send your write up and pictures to Akatu Marsters on akatu.marsters (at)


What's New

Do you like to keep updated with what is happening in the Mental Health & Addiction sector nationally but get annoyed going from website to website?  Look no further, we have made things easier and collated up to date information from various MH&A websites to keep you informed.

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Cannabis Flower 1Cannabis May Reduce Crack Use

Scientists have never found a medicine to help crack users who want to decrease their consumption. Canadian researchers think cannabis might be the answer.

“Research done by the BC Centre on Substance Use in Vancouver shows that using cannabis may enable people to consume less crack. Could marijuana become to crack what methadone is to heroin – a legal, safe and effective substitute drug that reduces cravings and other negative impacts of problematic drug use?

Other research has shown that long-term cannabis dependence might increase cocaine cravings and risk of relapse. Rather than contradict findings from Canada, Brazil and Jamaica, these discrepancies suggest that patterns of cannabis use and dependence, and the timing of self-medication with cannabis, may play a role in individual outcomes.”  Click here to read more...

A Life of It's Own

This powerful feature documentary directed and produced by award-winning Australian journalist Helen Kapalos aims to provide clarity and understanding around a controversial issue - medical marijuana.  Click here to watch video on Choice TV.

Open Floor of Media Take

Answers questions from Maori Television studio audience with Māori Party MP Marama Fox, NORML president Chris Fowlie, medicinal cannabis lawyer Sue Grey, General Manager of Te Utuhina Manaakitanga Donna Blair and Consumer Project Lead of Matua Raki Suzy Morrison.  Click here to watch video on Maori TV


National Publications

He Kai I Nga Rangatira - He Korero o Nga Whanau Whaiora

People with lived experience of mental health challenges and receiving mental health services attended a one day hui in Auckland to share their thoughts of being under the mental health act and of acute mental health care. The hui encouraged shared discussions with key reflections, aspirations and insights.

The core themes identified by the participants of being under the mental health act, included not understanding the compulsory assessment and treatment process, and experiencing the converse to mental health professional advice on what was going to occur under the act. Some viewed the act as a bargaining tool to get out of the mental health unit quicker, others viewed the act as providing a false sense of security for access to medication with significant implications to livelihoods after being in acute care, with examples of overt discrimination. Lastly, the struggle to being released from the mental health act.

The core themes identified of acute mental health unit care included the recognition that admissions to hental health units usually occurred under the mental health act, also that acute care was provided in locked up and fenced in properties. The determination and motivation of treatment provided in units was mental health professional led. That the demand on acute beds nationally is in crisis with issues concerning the lack of an acute model of care which is contributing to early discharges of people, their placement in other areas because they continue to need support. Two overwhelming issues for participants was the lack of choice for acute mental health care, and the processes conducted with seeking consumer input into the build of new units where there is little will to change to consumer and whanau centred processes.

Participants identified three solutions to improve the effectiveness of mental health services to Maori, these included more Maori strategies to overcome challenges, with better access to Maori cultural approaches, and meaningful activities and programmes to foster connections to being Maori. A stronger Maori consumer voice and a centralised data base system, with recommendations for further action.

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Maori Mental Health Nursing: Growing Our Workforce

Maori mental health nurses have an important role in shaping the way health and social services respond to people with experience of mental health and/or addiction issues (Ministry of Health, 2012), as well as in supporting Maori whanau to achieve whanau ora (Te Puni Kokiri, 2013). With solutions to Maori wellbeing able to be found within Maori models, Maori whanau and the Maori workforce (Turia, cited in Baker, 2010), increasing the numbers of Maori health professionals is a recognised strategy by which to improve access to both health services, and holistic care models (Ratima, Brown, Garrett, Wikaire, Ngawati, Aspin, & Potaka, 2007). Maori mental health nurses are an indigenous response to effectively meeting the mental health and/or addiction needs of tangata whaiora and their whanau.

Despite it being widely recognised that a capable and competent Maori health workforce is central to improving health outcomes for Maori, little attention has been paid to the development of indigenous health practitioners as specialists in their own right (Baker & Levy, 2013). The complementary interface between indigenous and western knowledge bases is at the centre of unique and distinctive indigenous health practice, however support required for this interface to be fully explored and developed is yet to occur across health disciplines, includingnursing (Baker & Levy, 2013). As Maori mental health nurses it is critical that we continue to lead and develop our own mental health and addiction models of care, solutions and strategies.

As Aotearoa is challenged to increase and retain the Maori nursing workforce, various strategies seek to build on our successes to date in order to realise a highly valued Maori nursing workforce (Te Rau Matatini, 2009). It is through the message "Every whanau should have a Maori Nurse" that we aim to increase access for all whanau to Maori nurses, and to assist whanau, hapu and iwi to increase the capacity and capability of Maori mental health nurses to work across the health and disability sector.

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Understanding Whanau-Centred Approaches - Analysis of Phase 1 Whanau Ora Research & Monitoring

A thematic analysis, based on responses from over 260 research and monitoring reports, was undertaken to better understand the development of whanau-centred approaches and how these led to wh?nau gains.

The analysis identified five overlapping themes essential to the implementation of a whanau-centred approach. All themes are anchored in te ao Maori (the Maori world) with practices shaped by whanaungatanga (relationship, kinship) as a tool for connecting and building whanau strengths. The five themes are:

  • Effective relationships – establishing relationships that benefit whanau
  • Whanau rangatiratanga (leadership, autonomy) – building whanau capability to support whanau self-management, independence and autonomy
  • Capable workforce – growing a culturally competent and technically skilled workforce able to adopt a holistic approach to supporting whanau aspirations
  • Whanau-centred services and programmes – whanau needs and aspirations at the centre with services that are integrated and accessible
  • Supportive environments – funding, contracting and policy arrangements, as well as effective leadership from government and iwi to support whanau aspirations.

Collectives adopted several strategies to address these themes. Their actions were effective in generating high levels of trust among whanau, whanau engagement with providers, motivation, a positive attitude, cultural and whanau connectedness, new skills and tools, greater awareness of resources and access to services, and participation in relevant courses. These initial impacts paved the way for further gains, and were seen even among whanau in crisis. Click here to read the full report otherwise.

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He Panui Papaho - Te Pou Matakana

The chair of the North Island Whanau Ora Commissioning Agency commented today on the Productivity Commission’s report on more effective social services.

“The report clearly demonstrates the value and efficacy of Whanau Ora and our commissioning for outcomes approach", said Merepeka Raukawa-Tait. 

Te Pou Matakana (TPM) was launched in July 2014 as part of the government’s decision to move the funding and funding decisions for Whanau Ora closer to the community.

“Whanau are at the centre of everything we do. We work with whanau and providers to identify whanau needs and co-design services to meet those needs", said Ms Raukawa-Tait.  Click here to read more. 


Working For Youth

Key Messages

Young people
Be the Change. Lead the way. Embrace diversity and difference. Small actions can make big changes in world. Support your mates and their changes. Grow, challenge yourself, try something different. Create a movement of change.

Champion young people, acknowledge what they contribute. Be supportive of young people’s passion and enthusiasm; give them the tools to take action. Be a positive role model for young people. Embrace diversity.  Celebrate young people’s successes. Be part of a movement of change.

Quotes for 'Be the Change':

“Be the change you want to see in the world” - Gandhi 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

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