This network is accountable to the five DHBs through the Midland Regional Network (Midland Director) to provide strategic advice and support to key strategic developments at a national and regional level.  This network is the mandated family whanau voice of the Midland region mental health and addictions network and are responsible for consulting widely with their specific networks to ensure that the advice and support provided accurately reflects the sector that they represent.

Membership is based on skills and expertise that members bring to the whanau sector.  Membership also reflects the diverse communities that are represented in the Midland region.

Midland Whanau Leadership - Te Ao Whanau Terms of Reference Nov 2012


Expression of Interest for Te Ao Whanau / Family Whanau Network

Generating Action For Families Whanau was formed in 2005 as the mandated Midland Regional Family Whanau voice and has been functioning as an information and coordinated forum since its inception. Providing a family whanau perspective on regional strategies is one of the key requirements of the group, with members being responsible for consulting widely with their specific networks to ensure that the advice and support provided accurately reflects the sector they represent.

 YES? Then we need you!!

We are now inviting nominations for this network and would be pleased if you would complete the EOI by putting yourself or another person forward to be considered. Click here for EOI criteria and application form.




Role: Chair Te Ao Whanau - Family and Whanau Advisor Mental Health Taranaki DHB

Credentials: Diploma of Teaching and B Ed. (a double major in Education and Curriculum studies) I have 4 years experience in education research which involved considerable consultation and communication.

Sector Linkages and Networks: I am a member of the Taranaki Local Advisory Group and over the last six months have been building my relationships within the DHB and NGO sector as well as developing my own advisory group as a Family and Whanau Advisor. I am also a member of the ‘National DHB Family, Whanau Advisors’ group.

Profile: I am 53 years old, live with my partner Anne and between us we have 5 adult children and 9 Grandchildren. None of our children live with us but we do share our home with Anne’s Mother who has Dementia.

I have a varied employment history starting in Civil Service Personnel Management and progressing through Bicycle Mechanic, Organic Farmer, School Teacher, Educational Researcher, Adult Education Manager and today Family and Whanau Advisor.  There were also other bits and pieces along the way not worth listing here.

Skills that I Bring:

1. Personal experience of supporting a family member with mental health and/or addiction that allows you to provide a family whanau perspective preferably over a range of age groups or specialty areas.

I am qualified by experience having supported two family members and a close friend through episodes of acute mental illness.  Two of these whanau used Adult Services and one MHSOP.  As a teacher I also had involvement with whanau and students using CAMHS and worked with CAMHS staff.

2. Strong leadership skills with established networks into key stakeholder groups or representative nominations from the key stakeholder groups.

My work in Educational Research was about improving the achievement of Maori students in mainstream schools which involved a lot of consultation with students, whanau and teachers then trying to apply their ideas and desires in a constructive and mutually satisfying manner consistent with best practice evidence.  This was a nation wide project involving a number of schools at different levels, each with an embedded facilitator driving and monitoring change unique to that school but also working together in what was effectively a managed network communicating mostly by e-mail with hui 7 to 9 times each year.

Apart from consultation and feedback I did not work directly with Maori students during this project the focus was on initiating systems and practice change within the school, evaluating the benefits (or otherwise) of those changes and communicating those outcomes to students, whanau, teachers, the Ministry of Education and at national conferences.  We trialled a number of initiatives and embedded those most effective at sustaining change.  During my four years on this project the school I was based at consistently raised the average academic scores of it’s new cohorts of Maori pupils from 1 year below national averages to equal or better than national averages for all students results which were considered outstanding.

3. Strong communication skills with established relationships with key stakeholder groups / networks where information can be fed to and from the network

I am reasonably academic having a Diploma of Teaching and B Ed. which equips me to understand / decipher the documents MRGAFW deals with.  My most recent previous employment included managing adult education programmes including several adult literacy programmes, this has left me with an understanding and passion about how important it is that we tailor documents so that the language is accessible to lay people.  Since becoming a Family and Whanau Advisor it has become very apparent to me that the MH&A sector is often writing at a level that excludes many of our people and if I want to genuinely consult the full spectrum of Family and Whanau I need to bridge that gap.

I have only been in my role for 10 months so I am still developing my relationships with stakeholder groups.  I have mostly been working with SF Taranaki support group people but I am aware that this group is not truly representative of whanau who use our service, being generally retired people who have been involved with Mental Health Services for many years.  I am slowly building relationships with a broader base of stakeholders, but it is frustratingly slow as whanau who are new to our service generally have more immediate priorities.

4. A good understanding of national and regional drivers

Being relatively new to a Family and Whanau Advisor role I have put a lot of effort into understanding how MH&A services work and I think I have developed a good understanding of national and regional drivers.

5. Working with Maori expertise

Some of my ancestors are Maori however I regard myself as culturally Pakeha.  I have had what I believe was significant success working with Maori, firstly as a teacher where my success with disadvantaged Maori boys in particular led to me being shoulder tapped to lead the school’s work on improving Maori student achievement.  When I was managing adult education almost half of our students had Maori ancestors and we achieved equitable outcomes for them.

I have never considered working with Maori to be particularly difficult or unique.  Consult widely, tap into the power of whanau, show everyone the respect they are due and act with integrity.

6. Proven track record for delivering results.

I have a track record of delivering results both as the person directly producing the outcome and the person initiating and leading change. I find the role of the person initiating and leading change the most challenging as so much is out of my hands and I can’t just work longer hours until I achieve a result. Instead I had to learn to educate, motivate and then be patient. What I have found is that if you can show people a pathway to a better result they will follow it.

Email: Jim Dickinson - jim.dickinson "at"



Role: AOD Family Whanau Advisor, Taranaki DHB


Sector Linkages and Networks:


Skills that I Bring:  To the role of a Te Ao Whanau member I bring an enduring passion for improving MH&A services and an understanding that the managed network approach to the Midland Regional Network will provide better opportunities for the family voice to influence sector development at a strategic level.

Through consultation with the Taranaki FADS group I am confident I represent the interests of Taranaki’s AOD families and look forward to bringing their voice to discussions at a regional level.

My connection with the National Family Advisors Network provides seamless information sharing between regional and national strategies, enabling a stronger, better coordinated approach.

My years as AOD Family and Whanau Advisor have given me experience in reviewing and providing feedback into local, regional and national MH&A documents and projects.  I enjoy working as part of the MRGAFW team to provide expert family advice to the Midland Regional Director, informing decisions regarding MH&A sector development and improvement from a family perspective.

Although I work in a mainstream service I am sensitive to the unique needs of Maori within MH&A and strive to improve services for whanau wherever possible, encouraging an holistic, whanau inclusive approach and recognising the importance of identifying the specific cultural needs of each individual whanau.  I value opportunities to consult with my Maori colleagues and seek cultural advice to improve my practice at every opportunity.

I bring with me the support and confidence of my Team Leader, management and team and look forward to the challenges ahead.

I also bring my Q.B.E. (Qualified by Experience ?) as a family member of an adult daughter with mental health and addiction problems.

Email: Sue Philipson - Susan.philipson "at"


Role: Director of Rostrevor House Inc, Hamilton


Sector Linkages and Networks:


Ko Te Arawa te Waka

Ko Tongariro te Maunga

Ko Tuwharetoa te Iwi

Ko Kauriki te Marae

Ko Ann Grennell toku ingoa

Kia ora

I have worked in the NGO sector for 24 years under contracts for corrections (working for inmates in prison and their families), health (working in support of families with children diagnosed with child mental health conditions e.g. ADHD, ADD, ODD), and CY&F (working with families of children with challenging behaviours, CD).  Of those 24 years I have fulfilled the roles of fieldworker and whanau worker(specifically working in support of & alongside Maori Whanau).  For the past 17 years I have been in a Management role for Rostrevor House Inc – (Providing specialist support services to children, adult and families having a range of diagnosed undiagnosed mental health conditions).

Managed change from the MRHA through to DHB.  Successful negotiations for funding increases and bid for ‘cluster’ place in both regions for the Waikato Cluster.

Career History: Whilst working for Rostrevor House professional achievements are growth and development of Rostrevor House Inc from one part time staff (15 hours) to 11 staff (Main office in Hamilton, two branch offices in Tokoroa and Hauraki).  Developed and completed NMHSS and also developed and achieved a Maori Health Plan (MHP).  I have achieved standard requirement to meet the DHB audit, Policy and procedures required to meet the CY&F Audit (16 standards of approval leading on to successful negotiations with (MSD) Strengthening Families contract for service delivery and training contracts.  Also held a seat on Local Management Service Group, was original member to lead out costings around payments for services and roles for S/F e.g. Lead Agency Co-ordinator roles.

Skills that I Bring: My earlier years of life were one of immediate family members being incarcerated at a very early age for several years on and off (this continues).  Another alcohol and drug abuse residential programme, (with varying levels of dependency still today) and having a mental illness still being managed through medication, therefore I believe I can provide personal insight support for the evaluation criteria, particularly around Maori COPMI, addictions child adolescent and / or youth.

I would definitely consider that I have strong leadership skills through my work history and in particular my successful application for a scholarship to attend the (IIMHL) International Initiative Mental Health Leadership application (10 only throughout NZ, this I achieved twice) thereby representing NZ family work on an international and global scale.

Growth and development of Rostrevor House Inc from one part time staff (15 hours) to 11 full time staff (Main office in Hamilton, two branch offices in Tokoroa and Hauraki) (mix of SW/MH workers, Child/Adult consultant psychiatrist) - Family social workers attached to clinical staff members.

I believe I can provide a balanced perspective required in influencing change, promoting discussion for the betterment of families, I know I possess this quality and skill.  I also understand the politics of the health environment, from funding and planning through to service delivery and am undaunted and confident in my challenges at all levels.

I was happy to put my name forward as a member for Ao Whanau and have had my application endorsed by the Waikato Provider Family Group.

Email: Ann Grennell - ann.rostrevorhouse "at"


Role: Kaumatua


Tena Koutou katoa

Ko Tau Korea Moeke toku ingoa 
Ko Operu me Kahuitara nga Maunga
Ko Reporua me Makatote nga Awa
Ko Ngati Rangi me Te Aitanga a Mate nga Hapu
Ko Ngati Uepohatu me Ngati Porou nga Iwi

I was educated in the East Coast and Gisborne District. I worked in the Meat Industry for 26 years and then up skilled at Waikato University.

My role as kaumatua with Te Ap Whanau is to assist, to contribute and educate those members with the conditions of tikanga, kawa and Te Reo in their practices.  By ensuring that these practices are adhered to by all and for all concerned will help those in the network to deliver effective services.

As my immediate family are most paramount in my life my emphasis will be to make an effort to identify and embrace new ways and processes to ensure that the whanau will be the centre of all considerations.

No reira e nga iwi e nga mana e nga reo. Noho ora mai kouotu i roto i o koutou Kainga Oranga. Kia tae mai te wa ka tutaki ai tatou.

Naku Noa
Tau Moeke


Role: Cultural Assessor, Tairawhiti DHB

Credentials: Bachelor Matauranga Maori, Post graduate Diploma Maori Studies, Post Graduate Diploma Maori and Management, Diploma Suicide Intervention and Prevention, Educator Maori Suicide and Intervention, Education Clinical Processes of Death and Dying

Sector Linkages and Networks: Community Mental Health and Addictions, Acute Mental health and Addictions, Supporting Families Tairawhiti, Te Kupenga Net Trust, Ngati Porou Hauora, Turanga Health, Koroua and Kuia Local, Marae Groups, Whanau whanui, Maori Qualifications Whakaruruhau Chair (National), MR GAFW and MR Worforce Advisory Group.


Kia ora tatou

Ko Hikurangi te Maunga

Ko Waiapu te Awa

Ko Uepohatu te Ariki Tapaeru

Ko Uepohatu te Iwi

Ko Maui te tipuna

Ko Maui te Atua

Ko Porourangi te tangata

Ko Nga Tini o Porou - Ngati Porou whanau whanui te iwi te rohe

I am first and foremost wahine Maori, a wife, mum and grandmother.  However in my other life I am a cultural assessor for the Cultural Assessment Team Community Mental Health and Addictions Tairawhiti District Health Board.  It is a privilege and pleasure to work for the only integrated cultural and mainstream team in Mental Health in Aotearoa that works alongside of the Psychiatric Assessment Team for all crisis and acute intervention 24/7, where kaupapa Maori intervention is valued, respected and acted on at first point of contact and assessment.  I have been in this role for nearly four years.  Previously I worked for Hauora Maori in General Medicine as the Kaiatawhai – Advocate for Maori inpatients at TDH.  I have also worked with the Bereavement Care Team (Mortality Management Specialists) Counties Manukau District Health Board.

Skills that I Bring:  A definite Maori lens in terms of working with family and whanau.  I have extensive experience working at a national and regional level for Maori centred initiatives.  I believe in and promote the health and well being of Maori and whanau and that the essence of Maori is found in our culture and the tohu that have been left by tipuna.

I have management skills, the ability to view issues through a wide lens, I have extensive front line working knowledge of acute un-wellness for Tangata Whaiora and understand the absolute importance for the involvement of whanau whakapapa or whanau kaupapa as part of healing.

Email: Hine Moeke Murray - hine.moeke-murray "at"


Role: Family Whanau Advisor, MH&A Tairawhiti


Sector Linkages:

Former member of He Tipuana Nga Kakano, Te Tairawhiti representative – very brief stay.

Local working relationships with: CAMHS, TDH Community Mental Health and Addictions, TDH Acute Inpatient Unit, Primary Health, Local NGO Mental Health and Addictions, Local NASC, Local Social Service agencies - Tau Awhi Men’s Centre; Te Aka Ora; STAND, Education sector – Gisborne Gisborne Girls High School, Te Wananga O Aotearoa, Lytton High School.


I was introduced to mental illness at a very early stage of my life however the term "mental illness" was unheard of and what I witnessed my older adult sister going through was referred to as a "nervous breakdown". As a result of this experience, I know only too well the impacts that such a breakdown has on the family and whanau as a whole; and realise that the breakdown and recovery do not occur in isolation. Although I recognise that each situation is a deeply and personally unique one, I am able to draw on this experience and provide a family and whanau perspective.

I left school at the age of 15yrs to pursue work in a factory. Started off in operations then progressively moved towards the management team undertaking Quality Control Work and 2IC. At the age of 23yrs I had accepted and was ready to embark on the promotional offer as Shift Supervisor which never eventuated due to my first episode of un-wellness.

2007 – Completed the National Certificate in Mental Health Support Work. Also had my first and only child during this year. Continued to study part time, and pick up part time employment as a retail assistant before landing a full time employment opportunity with Challenge Trust.

2010 – 2014 Employee of Challenge Trust; aka Recovery Solutions as Peer Support, also picking up additional roles with the likes of Consumer Representative, and intermittent periods as Team Leader. My employment with Recovery Solutions involved ongoing engagement and interaction with tangata whaiora, their family and whanau and significant others, for example the clinical staff. The Peer Support role enabled a consumer perspective to guide and inform provision of service.

2014 Part-time position as Rangatahi and Whanau Support Social Worker employed by Te Aka Ora and contracted to Gisborne Girls High School.


Born: Waimate South Canterbury

Raised: On a farm in Waikakahi 7 1/2 miles from Waimate.

Work History:

Current Role: Trust Manager for the Western Bay of Plenty Mental Health Trust since 2011.

Quals: Certificates in:

Trained in:

Plus many one-day trainings attended

Skills I bring: The above plus:

Representation: Families throughout the Bay of Plenty through networks and reports from key organisations, plus face to face consultation with families.

Nationally through long-term connections with organisations in the sector.



Role: Fieldworker for Children of a Parent who is Experiencing a Mental Illness (C.O.P.M.I.), Bay of Plenty

Credentials: Mental Health Support Work Cert; Maori Concepts of Wellbeing; Management & Timeline training specific for setting up a COPMI group; Exploring Lives of Young People & Mental Illness; Working with Families/Whanau- essential skills; Communication for Leaders; Effective Communication Skills; Strengths Based Training.

Lived experience – C.O.P.M.I.; Adult Carer (current); Family Advisory- DHB policies, recruitment, staff training.

Sector Linkages and Networks: Bay of Plenty Consumer Advisory Group, Midland He Tipuana Nga Kakano; National Consumer Groups; West Coast-C.O.P.M.I; Canterbury-C.O.P.M.I., Whakatane-C.O.P.M.I; Wellington-C.O.P.M.I. COPMI Networks – ongoing development sharing learning and developing consistent tools to reduce reinventing and National Association Mental Health Service User Consumer Advisors (NAMSCA)

Profile: In 2004 I was invited to present my personal story of C.O.P.M.I. at a mental health conference in Whanganui; 2005, member of advisory group as family member for Whanganui DHB; involved with development of Te Tahuhu (family member on Wanganui LAG advocating for COPMI inclusion in Te Tahuhu); 2006-07 Developed C.O.P.M.I. support group & advisory group (first in the country so had to learn from scratch), developed network of stakeholders in regards to C.O.P.M.I.; 2010-12 Lead Consumer Advisor BOP DHB; C.O.P.M.I. Fieldworker (current).

I was a member of the policy review committee for families, leadership in advocacy in gaps – developing “kids group” in Wanganui which was based on international and Australian experience (first in the country) – getting buy in from DHB, fund raising with Rotary, building networks and alliances, Skylight and Kites support, developing workforce package with Kina – breaking new ground first time ever done in the country.  Developed strong communication skills due to the number and variety of people that were involved.   I took a leadership role and had to make decisions to ensure the success of the programme.

Skills that I Bring: I am aware of current MOH strategies & plans, and how this drives the Midland region, and rolls out to the local mental health and addictions workforce.  I have good communication skills and proven experience in developing working relationships with key stakeholders (ongoing), district, regional, national and international.

My past experience of service development and improvement will compliment this new service for our region (COPMI development; Lead Consumer Advisor, Smokefree inpatient units, Seclusion & Restraint reduction).  I envisage ongoing improvements in how we engage with youth (media, technology etc).  Involving COPMI youth in developing COPMI service.

I have good support from my organisation and will establish processes locally where information is consulted and passed on to families.

Email: Kathleen Wright - kathleen "at"




Role: Portfolio Manager for Mental Health & Addictions, Tairawhiti District Health 

Ellen joined Te Puna Waiora, the funding arm of TDH, in May as Portfolio Manager for Mental Health and Addiction services as well as Health of Older People and Palliative Care.  Not only is she new to portfolio management, she is new to Gisborne but is really enjoying the move from Hawke’s Bay.  There, Ellen worked for ACC as a support coordinator for those with serious injuries. A registered nurse by background, Ellen has spent most of her working life at Auckland District Health Board in a variety of roles before moving to Whanganui and then to Napier.

The Health of Older People portfolio includes working with aged care providers (e.g. rest homes), home and community support services, non-governmental organisations (e.g. Alzheimer’s Society), as well as services provided to those with chronic health conditions who are under 65 years of age.

The Mental Health and Addictions portfolio covers the lifespan and includes services from primary to secondary care.  TDH provides treatment in secondary care and works with a number non-governmental organisations in the primary sector. Work is currently underway to support primary mental health care provision in general practice.

The palliative care portfolio covers those working in end of life care.

 Email Ellen.Fisher "at"  



Title/Role: Family/Whanau Support Worker, Consumer Advisor

Credentials: MH support work lvl 4, CEP lvl6 Diploma

Sector Linkages & Networks:

Lakes DHB In Patient Unit, MHSOP, Te Ngako CMH, TUMT, ICAMHS, WINZ, Residential Services.

All Primary & Secondary services within the Lakes District, some connections are more active than others.


I am a 47yr old Maori Male from Ngati Pikiao, I have 5 children & 3 Mokopuna. I have lived in Rotorua all my life. I started in MH & AOD Services in 2006. Have worked in Residential Services as a support worker, MH Coordinator for Te Whare Hauora O Ngongotaha, Mana Mental Health as a Peer Support Worker & Supporting Families working with Family/Whanau who support a loved one with MH or AOD issues.

Skills That I Bring:

I understand and work alongside our various key documents, more so the rising to the challenge, Blueprint & Let’s get real, also looking at the way whanau are being involved in the support of their loved one. This quite often requires advocacy & family/whanau hui’s to get everyone on the same page. Helping to bridge the gaps in collaboration.

Additional Members:



Te Ao Whanau is supported by the Midland Regional Mental Health & Addictions Network Team: