Workforce Development

The intention of this page is to provide you with regular updates on the workforce development activities at a regional and national level.  Information provided will be from direct links to the five National Workforce Development Centres and the Te Pou National Workforce Coordinator alliances.  This page will endeavour to highlight any upcoming training, event, hui or conference relevant to the Midland region and ensure you are not missing a beat for any workforce development initiatives coming our way. 

Anything and everything relevant to mental health and addictions workforce development will be available to view on this page so you are well informed.  I welcome your input.   Please feel free to send me your own local activities to showcase - and photos are appreciated!!


Learning Te Ara Reo Māori at Te Waananga o Aotearoa!

In 2018, I chose to formalise my learning in Te Reo Māori, by studying Level 1 & 2 Te Ara Reo Māori at Te Waananga o Aotearoa.  This is a crucial kaupapa in our mahi and something that I have been compelled to understand and work better with throughout my life. To end 2018, I thought that I would share some of that journey with you…

“He hōnore he kokōria ki te atua
He maungārongo ki te whenua
He whakairo pai ki ngā tangata katoa
Ihu karaiti te atua te piriinga tōku oranga 

Tihei Mauri Ora!

Ka mihi ki taku whānau o te Ara Reo Māori. Tēnā Koutou Katoa. Nau mai, haerae mai 
Tēnā Koutou! Tēnā Koutou! Tēnā Koutou Katoa!”

 Te Ara Reo Maori 19

….and so began my kōrero to my class at Te Waananga o Aotearoa, at the end of 2018. A 10-minute presentation - a Tangata Rongonui that I wrote about my son... To pass, we were required to incorporate all of our learning from the year. I had to mihi and to welcome everyone. I had to give my Pepeha, to tell my audience where I hail from and who my ancestors were and who my whānau, hapū and iwi are… “Ngati Ingirangi tōku Iwi, Ngati Scotland tōku Iwi, Ngati Ireland tōku  Iwi, Ngati Welsh tōku  Iwi - we have Gypsy blood!”. I had to announce the day, date and time. Given that it was it was 10-minutes to 8, on Tuesday evening, 20 November, 2018, I told them “Ko te Turei, te rua tekau o Noema, i te tau rua mano tekau ma waru. Ko te kau miniti ki te whitu karaka te wa!”

I introduced my Tangata Rongonui, “Ko Angus Neale te tama ia. Ko te Angus Neale te Tangata Rongonui”. Then I described his karu kikorangi (blue eyes), makuwe paraure (brown hair) and puku tūpuhi (skinny build)! I described some of my son’s traits, like his hinengaro arohanui (loving soul) and some of his qualities, like his hauora (health). Then I described his interests, in panui pukapuka (reading books) and the things that he is good at – te omaoma (football) and moe (having a sleep).

Finally, I gave a whakatoeke that reminded me of Angus “Kimihia te matauranga. Engari, kaua e wareware ki te matauranga a nga tipuna. Kei roto i to tātou Hitori he oranga mo tātou!” (“Seek after knowledge. But don’t forget the knowledge of our ancestors. Within our history is our future wellbeing!”) – a part of me wants him to slow down and to be more in the moment…. He wants more and more of what is out there for him…

And then I wished everybody well and closed my presentation.

All in all, the presentation took about 8-minutes. We had to give 5 examples of each of those characteristics, traits, etc. It had to be all written up correctly and it had to be pronounced right – or we were pulled up mid-presentation to repeat our point.

It was a magical moment you know – to grasp that actually some of this whakaaro had embedded somewhere in my head and that I can access it if I have to. Even though the presentation was not “real” korero, it was a step towards that. And now I know that with continued practice and support, I will become more and more automatic in my dialogue. So, I shall head back to Te Waananga o Aotearoa once again, in 2019!


National Youth Forensics ForumWerry

The National Youth Forensics forum was held on the 04 & 05 October in Auckland at Manawanui Marae, facilitated by Werry Workforce Whãraurau.

One of the keynote speakers was Judge Tony FitzGerald who is based in Auckland and spends about 60% of his time in the Youth Court and the rest in the adult criminal courts. He has a special interest in therapeutic jurisprudence and solution-focussed approaches to the cases of those people who come before the court with mental health concerns.

Regional Forensics

He is the patron of FASD-CAN (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – Care Action Network).  Click here to watch the video presentations.


SteveAnd still, yet MORE on our whānau support kaupapa!

For those of you who read my last TWO articles over the last couple of issues, I apologise, but I am STILL on about our whānau support kaupapa…. For those of you who haven’t, nau mai haere mai – welcome! I have been on a journey, you see! We have a vision for whānau to be more included in treatment and care.  Whānau have long sought information and support and to learn how best to support whaiora through their recovery journeys.

It is fascinating you know, because when I think of myself in my own journey through adolescence, if someone had suggested that my whānau be part of my recovery, I would have hit the roof! There were times when I couldn’t look them in the eye and I certainly couldn’t bear hearing their pain and judgement and self-remorse about how we all were! Ultimately, in the current mahi, the whaiora gets to choose whether there is whānau involvement or not and, crucially, they get to choose which whānau are invited in… I do think that if I had been given that choice and/or my whānau had been more AOD literate, if they had some sort of mental health and addictions knowledge, maybe, just maybe a bridge might have formed. We will never know, but I can happily tell you that over time, we came back together anyway. We can all sit in the same room and we can all discuss pretty much anything that is going on. I think we are amongst the lucky ones – I am fully aware that many whānau never get that opportunity.

And that is why I want to support whānau to support their loved ones – whether it is from far away, through irreconcilable differences, or from up close and personal in a place of conflict…. Or even from a place of loving acceptance – if those whānau have more information and more support, then they are going to be in a better place for their loved ones. OR for someone else’s loved ones.

And that leads me to another reason to support this crucial kaupapa. We are running out of mental health and addictions workers! The ones we have are stretched to capacity – and beyond. And we are all ageing and retiring and there are not so many new folk coming into the field… Meanwhile the numbers of people accessing services are increasing and the issues that we deal with are becoming more complex. We need recovery to be alive and well in communities to support the more specialised work carried out in treatment centres and I believe that whānau can be an important part of that kaupapa.

SSFC Taranaki 1And so, some colleagues and I have been training practitioners across the region to conduct what is called a Single Session Family Consultation (SSFC). SSFC is a framework that engages whānau and aims to support involvement in the treatment of whaiora and assist whānau to work holistically with their needs.  A full description of SSFC can be found here. It is a simple way of facilitating a meeting with a whānau where there are mental health and/or addictions issues affecting them. What’s great about it is that you don’t have to be a Family Therapist to run it! The whānau are their-own experts and the facilitator is there simply to assist the process.

So far we have done three workshops (two in Taranaki and one in Bay of Plenty) to a total of 36 individuals, from a range of services. I am pleased to say that the feedback has been awesome, meaning that we are really hitting the mark and I am enjoying interacting with such varied, vibrant and talented colleagues. It is a privilege to be supporting their mahi.

And, as I said last time around, there is WAY more to this exciting project! Our ultimate aim is to establish Whānau Support Hubs in each DHB in the region, so watch this space for further information.


Naku noa na

Steve Neale
Workforce Planning Lead
Midland Region Mental Health & Addiction Network
HealthShare Ltd


WF PlanMidland Region MH&A Workforce Action Plan (2018-21)

The Midland Region MH&A Workforce Action Plan (2018-21), follows on from the region’s 2015-18 plan.  All initiatives outlined in the former plan were completed to a high standard and affected change in a number of areas.  The 2018-21 plan builds upon the achievements delivered through the former plan and aligns itself to current and recent developments in policy and practice.

The Health Workforce New Zealand, Mental Health and Addiction Workforce Action Plan (MoH, 2017), lays out the expected direction for workforce development for the Mental Health and Addiction sector.  The plan has four priority areas, each of which has three to four actions.  To ensure that our plan delivers the best possible results, the Midland Regional Mental Health and Addiction (MRMH&A) Workforce Leadership Network agreed to select one significant action from each priority area.

Please click here to read the plan.

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Working with families and whānau: 5-Step Method training and accreditation programme

The 5- Step Method is a model for working directly with concerned family members affected by the substance use of a family member within the family or whānau. Matua Raki in collaboration with key stakeholders, and the Method developers have made cultural adaptations to the original Method for the Aotearoa New Zealand context.

Please see the flyer attached for more details about the accreditation process. The training and accreditation programme are free.

If you feel you meet the criteria for selection, please use this link to apply to be considered for this programme:

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