During Mental Health Awareness Week, Te Aka Whai Ora celebrates the mahi of the dedicated hauora Māori providers working tirelessly on the ground to support and improve the lives of whānau. 

Te Aka Whai Ora Maiaka Tau Piringa, Deputy Chief Executive, Service Development Jade Sewell says that “Te Aka Whai Ora is committed to supporting the delivery of mental health, addiction and suicide prevention services for Māori.” 

“We are dedicated to system shifts that bring in the work and views of lived experience, whānau voice, whānau bereaved by suicide, as well as clinical and cultural perspectives, to develop services that make a difference,” she says. 

“And that’s what our hauroa Māori partners are doing in their rohe, delivering services that reflect the needs and aspirations of local whānau and hapori. 

“We are proud to partner with 33 kaupapa Māori mental health and addiction Access and Choice services across the motu,” Jade says. 

These services address both the emotional and social needs of individuals, to empower people to use their own resources, enhance resilience, and make informed decisions. In addition, they build organisational and community resilience and capacity to respond well to traumatic events in the workplace or community. 

“We are also honoured to invest in 23 hauora Māori partners delivering across 24 sites to reduce the impacts of suicide on communities by building resiliency within hapū, hapori and whānau Māori,” Jade says.  

Kia Piki Te Ora suicide prevention programmes are co-designed with hauora partners to provide tailored awareness and wellbeing promotion services to local whānau to increase their ability to overcome social, mental and wairua issues. 

“We know that when the aspirations and ideas for Māori healthcare come from our communities – from iwi, hapū and whānau – those communities are empowered and supported to drive change.  

“We also know that working in the Oranga Hinengaro space is not easy and often doesn’t finish at 5pm. We commend our hauora Māori partners who go above and beyond to support whānau across the motu,” Jade says. 

Oranga Hinengaro – whānau who live with mental distress, illness and addictions – is one of five key health areas Te Aka Whai Ora is working to improve and that represent the greatest potential for intervention.