Our dear friends Aimee and Turaukawa Bartlett have worked tirelessly to support Rangatahi in schools, particularly Māori, over many years. We attach their article introducing their MANAvation programme that operates in schools. Trust me – anyone who has seen these guys in action know that they put their heart and souls into this crucial mahi and create an energy that is hard to match.


Overview of the MANAvation Programme


The number of rangatahi (young people) in schools, particularly Māori, experiencing poor mental health and drug-related harm has seen increasing growth in recent years. The sobering reality is that Māori kids are killing themselves at a rate higher than anyone else in Aotearoa.

This unsettling growth is perpetuated by poor engagement with mental health and addiction services, stemming from current interventions and approaches that are heavily influenced by western paradigms of thought with strong clinical and punitive perspectives that simply do not engage rangatahi Māori.

Furthermore, these factors have subsequently maintained a sense of disempowerment, disengagement and disconnection to hauora (wellbeing) for the rangatahi and their whānau (family) accessing mental health and addiction support. To conclude, funding pathways do not support a preventative approach or community led initiatives outside of the ‘contractual requirements’ based on numbers, rather than quality and efficacy of support.


MANAvation is a school-based hauora (wellbeing) programme currently delivered directly to rangatahi by Aimee and Turaukawa Bartlett (Husband and wife duo and proud parents of a child with special needs – severe autism) who are both Mental Health and Addiction Practitioners.

Aimee TurauAimee is a registered alcohol and drug clinician/counsellor with experience working in secondary schools across the Hauraki region.

Turaukawa is a qualified youth worker with both national experience in the wellbeing sector.

The 20-week programme is delivered through a bi-cultural lens that also weaves both kaiāwhina (non-clinical) and clinical approaches to ensure safety for all participants.

The programme was developed in 2017 in direct response to the failing and mana-diminishing approaches of the time, and resituates rangatahi at the centre of care by empowering them to take back control, and be the leaders of their own journey of hauora – ‘leaders of their own waka’.

Unlike previous approaches, MANAvation prioritises connection over the delivery of content, and is founded on the understanding that engagement, particularly with our most vulnerable youth, is dependent on firstly creating a relationship based on trust – the ultimate intervention to supporting hauora.

The programme enables rangatahi to visualise, conceptualise and externalise their experiences with mental health and addiction and their own journey of wellbeing. It utilises an analogy/metaphor of a leader on a journey towards a desired destination, representing their goals – what hauora (wellbeing) looks like to them!

This narrative draws upon elements of mātauranga Māori (Māori cultural knowledge) to identify goals, barriers and strengths that can be utilised towards reaching their desired destination, while enhancing a sense of tino-rangatiratanga (identity, connection and purpose) within a wider environment. The analogy is framed by the following elements:

Mana Pic

Rangatira – Leader of the waka
This represents the rangatahi themselves

Whenua/Land in the distance – Where I want to go
This is signifies the desired goal; the desired outcome and destination – what hauora looks like to them

Ngā Whetū/Stars – What guides me?
This represents the individuals core values and/or beliefs; used as a compass to guide them in their journey

Moana/Ocean – My environment and context
This element encapsulates all aspects of the person’s environment – the world they live in

Ngā Taniwha – What is in my way?
Challenges and barriers to achieving the desired goal; stemming from the moana

Waka – How am I going to get there?
Identifying the strategies needed to overcome the challenges in the moana

This metaphorical framework provides a structure to the group programme and subsequent sessions over the 20 weeks.


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