Kaupapa Māori wellbeing services

Free services for tāngata whaiora (a person seeking health) and whānau are delivered by Māori, for Māori, using Matauranga Māori.

vector based image of  a whare

Services are whānau-centred and sit within a kaupapa Māori framework. Providers support you to access and choose culturally relevant approaches to support your wellbeing.

What you can get help with

Wellbeing is a spectrum and your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours can affect it.

These free services (through the Access and Choice programme) are designed as early intervention - to prevent problems from building up. So the best time to reach out is now, as soon as you start to feel that you’d like some help.

Services are tailored to you but could include help to:

  • improve your mood
  • improve your ability to cope with life’s challenges
  • learn tools to help you sleep better
  • change habits that are leading to poorer health such as drinking or drug use
  • better manage long-term health conditions such as diabetes
  • talk about relationship or parenting concerns, or grief and loneliness
  • get connected to services in the community.

You don't need a referral

These kaupapa Māori services are free and you don't need to be referred by a doctor to access them.

You don’t need to have any particular symptoms or be severely affected by them. You can just choose a provider that offers services in your area and get in touch. They’ll take it seriously when you say you need help, no matter where you’re at.

If needed, you and your whānau can return to a service anytime in the future – without a long wait. 

How it works

These services are designed to make it as easy as possible for you to get the support you need. The providers would like you to feel welcome, comfortable and accepted for who you are.

Support varies by service. It’s whānau-centred and flexible to your needs. 

Services integrate Māori cultural and spiritual values and protocols with good clinical practice.

Support is provided through a range of culturally specific and traditional Māori intervention practices. This may include mātauranga māori, atua māori, karakia, pῡrakau, mōteatea, waiata, maurakau, mahi toi, rongoā, and romiromi.

Other supports could include talking therapies (whakawhiti kōrero), wānanga, peer support, self-management support, and access to a range of social supports. 

Providers can also connect you to other local health, social and community services.

Where wellbeing support is offered 

Services are offered face-to-face in community settings. This includes at marae, papakainga, Māori primary healthcare services, community centres and whānau and iwi social services. Some services are available online.  

Getting in touch

You may have questions about what happens when you reach out to a provider. Once you get in touch, they will explain how their services work and answer any questions. Or they may have this information on their website.

Guiding principles 

Kaupapa Māori principles and practices are at the heart of these services. This provides culturally safe and inclusive settings.

Services are: 

  • whānau-centred
  • delivered ‘For Māori, by Māori’
  • supportive of Kaupapa Māori principles and practices
  • strong in Te Reo Māori
  • skilled in Tikanga
  • steeped in Mātauranga Māori
  • experienced in Rongoā (where relevant).

In 2019, the Ministry of Health committed $62 million over four years to expand and develop kaupapa Māori mental health and addiction services.

These services are available for anyone, but are underpinned by a kaupapa Māori approach.

This is one example of the type of programme being delivered...

I was a bit of a slipper. I was a wannabe gangster. I didn't wanna know anybody. The whānau here brought my confidence back. I'm proud to be Māori, and I'm proud that you fullas are the ones that's leading me back to my roots, back to my home ground.

On this particular programme, Ngā Kaihautū, we have men who have come from different points in their lives. Sometimes in a good waka, sometimes not so good. They swear by this programme is allowing them to be who they are. To reconnect them, not just with the elements and the environment, but actually connect them with themselves. We have a unique approach here. It is about bringing together and utilising the kotahitanga, the oneness, the unity of a group of people who stay together for 10 weeks. Men who all address their issues in their own way, yet bound by the fact of whanaungatanga. Bound by a common view of where they want to go. When they move out of this programme they will be able to re-engage with all of the friends they've made over this time. They'll be able to have that support mechanism around them forever and a day.

This journey that I've done with the brothers has been a blessing for me because it's something that I need in my life. I could see the path I was going down, slowly losing my family, which breaks my heart. I was the kind of person that'd just get up in the morning, off to the Ngahere, off to the bush, do my job. Making myself feel humble again with my whānau. A lot of us Māori, tāne, this is what we need.

We have three principles within the programme. Matakite: What is their vision for the future? Mātāpono: What are the values that are gonna help them achieve their vision. And Whakapuaki: Being able to use their voice to create opportunities for themselves. Because that's what we find within our communities, is a lot of our men don't have the ability to speak well, and therefore they miss out on opportunities in terms of work. Even with their GPs being able to engage with them well. Even though we're a service focused on mental health and addiction, we try to help anyone out there that needs our support. It's about making them connect back to the whenua, connect back to the water. And learning the knowledge that our ancestors handed down. But it's about making it relevant for today, to help our men make that change.

Fundamentally the programme is about finding your why. Which if we return to understanding from a cultural Māori perspective, our why starts with atua, in our environment, and all of those kind of environmental and scientific elements that drop down to make you physically, emotionally, spiritually, who you are. So all of the different components of the programme are really good, because they help to embellish on that, and help to develop that, and help to enhance the natural whakapapa that our our tāne have, and that our whānau have, that we work with.

What people are saying about Kaupapa Māori services

Empower the whānau to self-determine

“This is a testimony to the outstanding contribution that X made in supporting us towards wellbeing when our son developed mental health issues… X readily provided three key aspects that kept us on course: first, her expertise in mental health; second, her willingness to empower the whānau to self-determine; and third, her wairua Māori that made working together easy.”

I have broken away from drug abuse

“With support from X I have broken away from drug abuse and a very violent relationship based on physical, psychological and emotional abuse. They have not only helped me use exercise to make me feel good, but ... my suicidal tendencies are really low.”

Feeling a lot happier with her new self-care routine

“A wahine recently engaged with the service as she had been experiencing what she felt was panic attacks… The Community Support Worker and the wahine developed a care plan together. The plan included activities such as regular physical activity, sleep routine, healthy kai, mindfulness and grounding activities. Regular contact has been made with the wahine and she states that she is feeling a lot happier with her new self-care routine and has not experienced any further panic attack episodes.”

A calming healthy alternative to his deep emotions and anger

“When he first came to the service, there was no way X could have walked up stairs without having to sit down and sleep and wake up again, he weighed just under 200kgs. But through hard work, determination and support he was able to lose the excess weight. He has especially enjoyed learning about his Māoritanga. This helps him through his day. It is a calming healthy alternative to his deep emotions and anger.”