A trio of new local Kaupapa Māori mental health services delivered by Māori for Māori were announced at a pōwhiri in Hastings this morning .
Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare was on hand with local providers to announce the services and he commended their work in the community for tangata whaiora (people seeking health).
"We know that for many whānau it has been too difficult to get help for too long. That is why this Government is building a whole new mental health system," Henare said.
"Now, for the first time, there are real services opening up across Aotearoa for Māori, delivered by Māori, like here in Hawke's Bay."
Hiwa i te Rangi, delivered by Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga Trust, is an expansion of existing Kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services focusing on tangata whaiora Māori and their whānau, with a mild to moderate level of mental health and addiction concerns.
Te Ara Tōtika, delivered by Āwhina Whānau Services Incorporated, is a new service providing free kaupapa Māori counselling, education and social work advocacy services, addressing specific concerns such as anxiety, depression, bullying, grief, decision-making and identity issues.
Mauri Tū Mauri Ora, delivered by Hikoi Koutou Charitable Trust, is a mental health and addiction service featuring whānau participation in Hikoi-4-Life activities and their individual progression on a 'Virtual Hikoi', mirroring the ancestral journey from Hawaiiki to Aotearoa.
The services are being funded through the Government's Budget 2019 $455 million investment to expand access to and choice of primary mental health and addiction support in primary and community settings.
"Providing services for tāngata whaiora and whānau in a culturally safe and inclusive way means our people are much more likely to reach out for and have a positive experience accessing support," Henare said.
The services are underpinned by a kaupapa Māori model informed by and anchored to mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge).
"These services are intended to be a first point of contact for tāngata whaiora Māori with mild to moderate mental health or addiction needs," Henare said.
"We know Māori have struggled over the years to get meaningful support, so this is an excellent development for people here in Hawke's Bay who may not have found the right support they needed through existing programmes."