"Consumer organisations are beacons of best practice, credible, professional, strong and successful."   

He Tipuana Nga Kakano Members  


Herewini Rangi - Youth Peer Support & Advocacy, Tairãwhiti


  • Suicide Intervention & Prevention
  • Currently studying - Mental Health & Addictions Certificate

Sector Linkages:

  • Tairawhiti District Health (TDH)
  • Te Whare Oranga (Gisborne Community Mental Health and Addictions)
  • Te Whare Awhi Ora (inpatient mental health)
  • Te Rito (Child, adolescent mental health)
  • Turanga Health
  • Recovery Solutions
  • Te Whare Awhiora (Ward 11)
  • Ngati Porou Hauora
  • Tairawhiti Consumer Advisory Group
  • Whanau support group


  • He Uri no te Kiingitanga o Waikato-Tainui
  • Schooled at Te wharekura o Rakaumanga, Played Rugby League for Taniwharau in Huntly 1984-2012
  • Played One Game- NZ Warriors 2004
  • Moved to Brisbane 2005-2008
  • Suffered a Spinal Injury playing Rugby League in 2008,
  • 60% recovered but really fortunate to be walking…
  • Back in the Tairãwhiti enjoying life with my whãnau and new work environment, Supporting Rangatahi in Mental Health and Addictions.
  • Completed some study, Certificate in Suicide Intervention Prevention
  • And currently studying a Certificate in Mental Health and Addiction Support work.


  • Maori leadership
  • Youth and adolescent focus and networks
  • Male perspective
  • Humble approach to people
  • Willing to learn
Arana Pearson - Tangata Arahi Ki Te Ao Marama, Lived Experience Lead, Te Pou Oranga o Whakatohea


2004 – Balance Network, Wanganui, New Zealand

  • Trained by Mary Ellen Copland of USA “Train the Trainers in Facilitation of Mental Health Recovery including WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan)”

2004 – Napier Family Centre, Napier, New Zealand

  • Trained by Michael White of Adelaide “addressing the consequences of trauma”

2001 – Keepwell, Gloucester, England

  • Trained by Ron Coleman to deliver ‘Working with Voices’, ‘Psychiatric First Aid in Psychosis’, ‘Working to Recovery’

1999 – VMIAC, Sydney, Australia

  • Trained by Merinda Epstein to be an authorised deliverer of the Lemon Looning board game

1998 – Central Institute of Technology, Rotorua, New Zealand

  • Seven day course in Clinical Supervision.

1997 – Like Minds, Hamilton

  • Certification to train ‘Hearing Voices that are distressing’ with Patricia Deaghan of the National Empowerment Centre S.A

1992 – Wairaki Polytechic, Wairaki, Rotorua, New Zealand

  • Certificate in Adult Teaching

1981–1983 – Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

  • A., History.

Sector Linkages and Networks:

  • Mental health and Addiction services across BOP DHB
  • Service users/whanau of NGO, primary and secondary services
  • Iwi based staff in mental health Kaupapa services


Arana Pearson is an educator, musician and writer who became involved in mental health service sector some years after his own experience of using mental health services in New Zealand.  He was the first chairman for the national consumer advisory group in the New Zealand "project to counter stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness" (Like Minds Like Mine).

The Mental Health Commission of New Zealand employed Arana from 1999 till 2003 in the role of 'consumer advisor: Tangata whai ora takawaenga’. From then and currently he delivers training through Keepwell Ltd.  Keepwell won a gold award for excellence in mental health training in 2006 and featured in the television documentary ‘Just a little Mad?’ which won the media award in 2009 at the Australasian Mental Health Services conference of Australia and New Zealand. He delivers learning programs developed by leading educators from America, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Arana released a CD music recording of the mental health consumer anthem “I’m just a little mad” (2000) and introduced Mad Pride throughout Australasia.   

In 2005 he was an invited performer at the Yale university international conference on Mental Health in the United States of America.  He appeared on 'The Nutters Club', the New Zealand national talk back radio hosted by Mike King and discussed hearing voices and took listener calls for the two hour radio programme. The session was filmed and was broadcast on Maori television in New Zealand in January 2014.

Arana hears voices and has advocated for better understanding, acceptance and support for people who hear voices in Australia and New Zealand over the last two decades. He is founding chairman of the NZ hearing voices national network of Aotearoa.  He presented a keynote address at the international congress on voice hearing in Melbourne in November 2013.

He is currently working with Whakatohea Iwi Social and Health services to implement improved quality mental health and addictions services in primary health and peer support development in the Opotiki district on the East Coast.

Arana is passionate about recovery, has been clean & sober for well over 20 years.

Skills that I Bring:

  • Lived Experience of secondary Mental Health and Addictions services
  • Empathy towards others
  • Critical thinking and articulate advocacy
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing
  • Experience with research and writing up lived experience perspectives
  • I am passionate about working alongside Maori and continue to improve my knowledge and skills about how to do this
Sarah Gillington - Consumer Advisor, Taranaki 


  • Lived / Living Experience

Sector Linkages:


  • Mental health and Addiction services at TDHB
  • Extensive networking and relationships with the NGO sector including, Pathways, Supporting families, MHNZ, Progress to Health, Tui Ora, Tu Tama Wahine, Familyworks, Salvation Army, Taranaki Retreat
  • Mental Health & Addiction Services’ Clinical Governance Committee
  • Direct Reports fortnightly meeting
  • Acute Services Quality Group
  • Staff Meetings – Te Puna Waiora, South Taranaki Community, North Taranaki Community, Alcohol and Drug
  • Suicide Prevention Taranaki
  • Reducing Restrictive Practise – Six Core Strategies
  • HQSC Projects
  • Supporting Parents Healthy Children (SPHC)
  • Seclusion Peer Reviews
  • Seclusion De-briefs with consumer
  • Suicide Prevention and Post-vention Advisory Group
  • Midland Region Wellbeing Framework
  • Cross Sector Governance Group (in progress)
  • eSpace Clinical Portal
  • IPS Steering Group (Workwise)
  • TPW Facilities Meeting
  • Youth SLM Working Group
  • Trauma Informed Care Training Package (with WITT Nurses, in progress)
  • Other one off meetings (meets with doctor to support consumer etc)


  • Nga Kōpara o te Rito, Midlands Region Consumer and Whanau Leadership Network.
  • NAMHSCA, National Consumer Advisors Association
  • Nga Hau E Wha, Midland Representative reporting to MOH


G’day, I’m Sarah a 38yr old mum of 2 beautiful children and wife to an amazing kiwi man. Yes I’m an Aussie, but don’t hold that against me, I’m not too bad J!

I have a long Mental Health history that started with the sudden death of my father when I was 16. This changed my life course and everything that I had known and what my parents had worked so hard to achieve for us as children, they wanted us to have opportunities that they didn’t. My mother was given a diagnosis of bipolar disorder 6mths before my father passed away, after his death she sunk to a deep depression and was suicidal.

I quickly became unwell and was started on anti depressants to try and lift my mood, sleeping tablets to try and sleep, but I continued to worsen and become more suicidal with family members catching me out before I made attempts on my life. I was then referred to a psychiatrist and started on a mood stabiliser. Eventually things settled for me and I moved on with my life and finding employment.

I was lucky enough to gain a traineeship in Assistant Nursing, so for 12mths I studied and worked at an aged care facility which I absolutely loved.  At around 17yrs of age I was sexually assaulted by a friend, had no support from my mother, family or friends to make a statement to police, this still plays on my mind and I hold a lot of anger towards my mother for not protecting me.  After meeting my now husband a couple of years later, we moved out of my home town and went thousands of km’s away following work for my husband.

Around 16-17yrs ago we were living in New Plymouth, which was only supposed to be for a short time, but ended up being a much longer stay. I was admitted to the inpatient unit in Taranaki and taken off all my meds as my liver had pooped itself and wasn’t processing any meds, essentially I was told I was having a nervous breakdown. This was a long stay which included seclusion from voicing a plan to take my life. My mother was asked to come from Australia, as there were questions around family history etc. I was then given a diagnosis of Bipolar 2.

When things started coming right months later I was started back on old antidepressant medication, it wasn’t until I had an appointment with a psychiatrist through outpatients who listened to me and put me back on the meds I knew worked and was started on an antipsychotic as well.  It turned out that they thought the contraceptive pill may have done the damage to my liver, but to this day, they are not really sure what happened.

9yrs ago I had my first baby, a beautiful little girl called Evie, I didn’t have any issues through the pregnancy with my metal health and was stable. Little did I know at that time that bipolar gets better for females when they are pregnant. A couple of months later, I couldn’t cope, I was suicidal, couldn’t sleep, was having panic attacks, losing touch of reality and had no idea why I had had a baby. I was admitted to an inpatient unit in Australia twice, the first admission I thought I was getting better, went home and crashed 2wks later, on my second admission I was told I had postnatal psychosis, I ended up having 7 sessions of ECT treatment, I just wanted to be better, wanted to not feel suicidal and I wanted to love my baby. It took me 13mths for me too get back to my normal.

5yrs ago, after having weight loss surgery, we found out we were pregnant with a little boy. We had private health insurance, a massive plan around support people, plans for after the birth and medication.  Again I was really well during my pregnancy however 4wks after Marley was born I again sunk into postnatal depression.  I didn’t have any admissions to the ward but struggled through 13mths until I was back to my normal again. I have been stable now for 4yrs.

My mental health journey has given me a passion for mental health care, I love learning, love talking with people, letting them know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, sharing my story and wanting better from mental health services for each and every person that finds themselves in mental unwellness.

My working life has given me a broad range of skills, as I have worked in many different roles and often moved due to my husbands work.  I have worked in Aged Care nursing, managed a business, childcare, beauty, accounts payable and administration, but my biggest role was being a stay at home mum for 7yrs.  Moving back to NZ I needed to be an income earner also, I had brief roles with AMI insurance, TSB (bank) and Workwise before I wanted more from my role and put an expression of interest out to organisations who provide mental health care. I was lucky enough to secure my current role and I can honestly say that I love my job!


My role as Consumer Advisor for the Taranaki area is big, but I love it! I am continually learning and developing additional skills specific to Mental Health and Addiction Services. I enjoy spending time with our whānau, sometimes it’s just listening, but this can make such a difference to a consumer whose feelings and thoughts may not have been validated.

I am a great organiser and like to have lots of things on the go, sometimes I find it hard to let others do things, must be a mum thing!

I have a special interest in resources and have developed some of my own and looking at more, also been part of revisions of resources being updated and modernised. I continually seek out new resources and always have stocks in each area.

I have also enrolled in Certificate 4 in Adult Tertiary and teaching through the TDHB for 12mths. This will give me enhanced skills in delivering trainings and education, as well as facilitating groups etc.

Some of my big picture dreams is to have services that are truly person centred, staff with compassion, empathy, genuine care and concern and that think outside the square. Responsive services when people are in distress such as the crisis team, less waiting to see someone, more peer support, more supported living and transitional housing. Compulsory training and education for staff, day programmes for those that need it, self referral and single point of entry to services, more family/whānau involvement, Recovery and Wellness plans for each person, advance directives completed if acute treatment is needed and better communication overall. Collaboration with all organisations and services, working as a unit not in silo’s, drop in centres, peer groups, education in the community and resources that are easy to use and informative so people know where to find help.

As Consumer Advisor I have been committed to personal development and completed the following trainings in the last 12mths:

  • Lifekeepers Course
  • Alternatives to Self-Harm
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Single Session Family Consultation
  • SPEC training
  • Te Kuwatawata Workshop
  • Legal Frameworks
  • Engaging Effectively with Maori
  • Family Violence Intervention Programme
  • Restraint Minimisation & Safe Practice E-Learning
  • TDHB MHA Specialty Services and Legal Frameworks
  • Treaty, TDHB and Me
  • MHSOP, CAMHS, AOD Specialty
  • Perinatal Seminar

Deliver the following trainings:

  • Recovery in Practice – Compulsory staff training
  • WITT – Presentations to Students studying Health and Wellbeing Certificate
  • WITT – Building Bridges Program – Speaking from lived experience to Students in the Nursing program.
  • Short In-Services held in TPW for staff of MHAS.
  • SPHC – Presentations to 8-12yr olds with a parent in mental services
  • Other one-off presentations as requested

Facilitate feedback from:

  • Consumers admitted as inpatients in TPW
  • Consumers in Community
  • Consumer Ward Meetings
  • Family/Whanau members
  • Peer Support Groups
  • NGO Feedback from their consumers
  • Shared Experience Group – Supporting Families
  • Request for Feedback – Brochure/Flyer system (in progress)
  • Clinicians – Doctors, Psychology, Keyworkers
  • Complaints that have been referred to me (help in writing a complaint or verbal concerns)
  • Real time feedback
Jordana Bealing (Jordy) - Consumer Advisor, Lakes


  • Master of Social Sciences – Psychology
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Social Sciences – Psychology

Sector Linkages:

  • Lakes DHB Secondary Mental Health and Addictions Services
  • Lakes District Health
  • Mental Health and Addictions NGO including: LinkPeople, Workwise, Emerge (Hamilton/Rotorua), Karldon Trust, Braemore, Whare Whakaue (Inpatient Unit), Beverly House, Te Aratu Trust

Involved in various projects in my role as Consumer Advisor:

  • Te Ara Tauwhirotanga Advisory Group
  • Zero Seclusion Project
  • Continuous Quality Improvement Group
  • Lakes Consumer Advisory Group
  • E-Mental Health Collective
  • Clinical Governance Group
  • Waikato/Lakes Forensic Hui


Kia Ora,

I’m Jordy, 24 years old and recently graduated from University of Waikato with my Master of Social Sciences in Psychology. My dream has always been to become a Clinical Psychologist. However, after becoming unwell in my second year of university, my dream of becoming a clinical psychologist “went sideways”. My mental health continued to deteriorate to the point where I decided to quit my job as a Community Support Worker for Emerge in Hamilton and come home to my family in Rotorua.

With the love and support of my friends and family I have been able to get well again. My experience of MH & Addiction services have been very mixed, however once I found the right service, and got the right diagnosis things improved. I want to be an influence and I want to see improvements for everyone young and old,  Mãori and non-Mãori people being allowed to have a voice and being heard and respected.

I still have hopes of being a clinical psychologist but have found another way to contribute. As Consumer Advisor my role is to represent the views and perspectives of service users /consumers of mental health and addiction services at a strategic level. That means influencing systems change and policies alongside the Consumer Advisory Group I facilitate at Link People. The group ensures people with lived experience of mental health and addiction services have a voice and help services engage with service users. I have more opportunity in this role to influence things and I’m still able to use my skills from university and my personal experience. I’m very excited at the opportunity this role gives me to improve services. The best thing is being allowed to have a voice and having people open to hearing what it’s like for service users and being able to influence the way services interact with clients in a way that supports recovery that is meaningful to them.


  • Lived Experience of Mental Health and Addictions services
  • Empathy towards others
  • Knowledge and skills gained through my qualifications including; research, qualitative analysis, interviewing, anti-social behaviour, abnormal psychology, psychotherapy, psychological assessments, criminology, child development, behaviour analysis.
  • Personal experience of supporting several family members with mental health and/or addictions
  • In my current role I am developing strong leadership skills through regular and well-established feedback and engagement with the MH and Addiction Sector. I continue to establish relationships with key stakeholder groups such as the Lakes Consumer Advisory Group which I facilitate, the Te Ara Tauwhirotanga Advisory group who are responsible for implementation of MH & Addiction Model of Care into services and other groups or committees where a consumer/service user representative would be appropriate.
  • I am passionate about working alongside Maori and continue to improve my knowledge and skills about how to do this
Jamie Allen, Executive Officer, Taranaki Retreat Trust


I’m the Executive Officer for Taranaki Retreat: A suicide prevention and postvention NGO that works with over 1,200 whānau each year in addressing suicidal distress. My role includes oversight of the organisation’s care models and Caseload; training and involvement of peer support and lived experience; and leading support groups and workshops.

Sector Linkages

Our service provides care throughout the region and Aotearoa. We are committed to cross-sector working (a non-clinical service surrounded by a clinical support team) and non-siloed working.


My background is in education; mental health and addictions support and suicide prevention/postvention. For the last seven years I have established and overseen the inception, funding and operation of a service that has supported over 6,000 whānau dealing with suicidal distress. Our service operates holisitcally, biculturally and seeks to remove all barriers to tāngata whai ora accessing support and solutions swiftly and equitably.


I am passionate about trauma-informed and person-centred approaches to wellbeing. My role constantly puts brings stories and situations where I am alongside those who have struggled as a result of models of care and support. I believe in co-design and co-production models, where structures are designed from the grass-roots as a basic premise of safety and delivery of trauma-informed care. I bring with me my experience is as an advocate and support person for many, many whānau accessing clinical services. This includes frequent alongsiding to appointments; support in accessing services; liaison with clinical supports, and attending MDTs.

I am also parent of children who have accessed mental health support services and cancer treatment, and have profound learnings through both contexts.

I am particularly interested in a holistic approach to wellbeing; (eg within the context of Whare Tapa Whā) - so, incorporating in particular mental/emotional health / addictions support - working in a culturally safe and appropriate manner, and with an understanding of trauma-informed care.

Tyson Smith - Wellness Advocate & Consumer Consultant, Vincent House, Bay of Plenty

Sector Linkages:

  • Founding Member of the current BOP DHB Consumer Consultant Group
  • Previous consumer consultant to the WBOP PHO (passed on due to time constraints)
  • Wellness Advocate (MHA – NGO Vincent House Recovery Trust)
  • Participate in WBOP NGO networking events


Kia Ora

My Mental health journey began in my formative years, as a teenager I found myself confused and lost, to the point of severe depression, self-harm and suicide attempts. My family responded with confusion, culturally it was not acceptable for my father to acknowledge the emotional turmoil that I was going though, the intervention of other family members caused a rift in the family that exists till this day. As I grew, my wellbeing continued to wane, I would experience productive periods of wellness and then down to the dark depths of sorrow. This presented as confused anger, towards myself and toward those that were closest to me. I fumbled my way though life, hiding in work. I became qualified as an electrician and found my way to the mines in Australia, with foresight, I realize that this was me continuing to run. Once again this resulted in hospitalization and a return to NZ with several years of stumbling, loss, and recovery. As a young adult, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder and dysthymia .

Gradually after fighting the health system, I found myself surrounded by a supportive team. While in service I completed a level 4 cert in MHA. I took that brave first step across the office and sat on the other side of the table; I am now employed by that NGO in a fulltime Role as a Wellness Advocate.

With my Role at the NGO, I am constantly out on the road, working alongside Tangata whaiora, supporting them to be the chief of their waka, and navigate the complex health system we have in the bay. I find that the networks that I have built to be crucial to the support I provide. Daily I am out in the community working with other NGO’s, Church Groups, Family and at times probation and the court system.

I was also one of the founding members of the BOPDHB’s Consumer Consultant group, I share my journey and vision for a better and brighter future for the service. On a regular basis I find myself face to face with allied health professionals, funders, and leaders throughout the service. I am not afraid of challenging the service to uphold the rights of consumers, When needed I have utilized the Freedom of information act to find documents and have followed several complaints all the way to wellington and back and seen them upheld.

Examples of projects I have worked on: 

  • Internal development of the My plan Document (shared care plan NGO/DHB)
  • Planning and design feedback for the construction of the new mental health ward in Tauranga
  • Hands on work (licensed and using in practice – pilot group) & feedback regarding the outcomes star
  • Participated in the first steps of the Tauranga Moana innovative courthouse redesign.
  • Feedback, lived experience voice -BOPDHB Document & Policy Review
  • Strategic planning for the future of the BOPDHB lived experience group
  • Audit – Responding to people in mental health crisis – the care pathway and peoples experience of the emergency department
  • Feedback/complaints to Just Thought RE: exclusion of lived experience


  • I find my unique perspective and lived experience gives me the ability to see and understand the connections and motivations and movement here in the bay.
  • I am confident approaching and negotiating the complex bureaucracy that we all live in.
  • Comfortable working at higher levels, have presented to BOP MHA leadership, and the Board at Vincent House Recovery Trust.

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He Tipuana Nga Kakano is supported by the Midland Regional Mental Health & Addictions Network Team: