Background | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau


Our Roots

The mental health and wellbeing of tamariki across Aotearoa New Zealand is a priority for this Government and Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand. On 22 February 2018, the Prime Minister announced a three-year investment to improve mental health for primary and intermediate school tamariki in Canterbury and Kaikōura. Canterbury District Health Board (DHB), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and inter-sectoral social service partners worked together to develop and deliver a new, integrated, approach to providing additional mental health support in primary and intermediate schools across Canterbury and Kaikōura called Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow.


Our Region

In April 2021, the Ministry of Health announced additional funding for five additional areas to design local Mana Ake services – Northland, Bay of Plenty, Counties Manukau, – Rotorua/Taupō, and West Coast. Recognising that each district has its own service landscape, demographic makeup, and need profile, each district was commissioned to lead local co-design processes with key stakeholders to consider how best to provide school-based mental wellbeing supports for primary and intermediate school-aged tamariki in their districts, and what these supports could look like. In July 2021, the Ministry of Health contracted Te Whatu Ora (then Northland DHB) to initiate a collaborative co-design process with the Ministry of Education, local schools, social services, and wider stakeholders including tamariki and whānau. The purpose of the co-design process was to ensure that the service plan was responsive to the needs of Te Tai Tokerau.


Our Co-Design Process

Core components of our co-design process included:

  • Establishing a robust and effective governance group including iwi Māori, regional Ministry of Education officials, school sector stakeholders, Te Whatu Ora (then Northland DHB), and local representatives of the health and social service sectors and Oranga Tamariki.
  • Working with the governance group and key stakeholders to design a school-based programme that provides mental wellbeing support to all primary and intermediate-aged tamariki in the Te Whatu Ora area.
  • Designing a service that was informed by our local community needs, a summary of learnings from the current Mana Ake initiative, and the literature of current local and international evidence around effective interventions for enhancing mental health and wellbeing of tamariki in primary and intermediate schools.

Here is a one-page overview that guided our co-design process undertaken in 2021.


Our Community Feedback

We looked to our communities, schools, iwi, hapū, whānau, tamariki, and agencies to help shape what wellbeing support should look like and how it could provide additional support and leverage existing services. We provided mechanisms to capture student voice, hear from school principals and teachers, local iwi and hapū, and seek input from other local agencies. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, one of our main data gathering methods was via online surveys, with further feedback provided by attending school cluster meetings and seeking feedback specifically from iwi health and social service organisations.  See a detailed analysis of the community feedback received here.


Our Governance Group

Members of the Te Tai Tokerau Mana Ake Governance Group are representatives of Iwi Māori, local schools, Ministry of Education, Te Whatu Ora, local Health and Social Sector stakeholders, and Oranga Tamariki. The Governance Group’s guiding principle is to enhance collaboration between the organisations represented and to improve the overall wellbeing of the communities it represents.



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