A Tauranga woman who won a national award for her work in counselling will use the achievement to help restore confidence and self-esteem in women previously unable to afford help.

Toni McErlane was honoured with the Sonja Davies Peace Award earlier this year by the New Horizons for Women Trust for her efforts at helping create a peaceful world. Now she is offering a free seven-week self-empowerment workshop for women needing a hand to master their communication skills and confidence.

Ms McErlane has spent years working with women struggling to master their emotions and communication skills, including prisoners in Californian jails.

''That has probably been the biggest impact. That's what has encouraged me. The self-worth they got from this,'' she said.


Ms McErlane said the workshop took less than three hours a week, for seven weeks, and helped people to take better ownership of their lives.

''The same workshop is taught to doctors, lawyers, nurses. It's not specifically for people with a rough upbringing or who have been marginalised by society,'' she said.

''This is a course designed for human beings who what to better their communication.''

The workshop begins on August 26.

Applications for it are available at restorativerelationships.co.nz or by emailing Ms McErlane at toni@restorativerelationships.co.nz.