KarenMeet Karen Cheer

We have been blessed to have Karen Cheer contribute to our team providing minute taking for our regional network meetings.  We have adopted her as part of our team and appreciate her genuine involvement with our stakeholders and teams.

Tell us a little about yourself, who are you and how have you been part of the Midland MH&A network?

Kia ora tatou.

I was born in Wellington quite a few years ago and did all my schooling there. I began work as an office junior and learnt from some great mentors all about office systems, good secretarial practice, finance, and managing a small business. I enjoyed the multi-tasking, learning new skills, and organising things.

My son Tristram was born in 1985; I re-trained to work with special needs children 5-13 to avoid any problems with after-school care and holiday programmes. I also enrolled at Victoria University to do a BA in History and Economic History part-time. There I was employed as a research assistant and I also worked in the faculty office. In 2004 I started work as a part-time on-call researcher for an author based here in Rotorua and I still do this part-time. I completed my MA in History in 2009.

I came to Rotorua in 2015 after my mother passed away; I bought a little house in Owhata and continued my work with special needs children but the school’s attitude to special needs children was so totally at odds with my beliefs about what they can and should be doing I looked elsewhere for work after 18mths thinking I could go back to my secretarial skills.

I signed on with Talent ID and while waiting for a permanent job agreed to do temp work; as a result I was asked to do the minutes for the Midland DHB regional forums. I accepted and since then every three months I get to meet - and be of help to - a wide variety of mental health and addiction professionals, consumer representatives and advocates for the continued improvement in the experiences of whaiora and their whãnau.

How have you found working with the Regional Network groups?

The people I have met have amazing life stories, enormous passion for their fields of speciality and advocacy, a zest for doing things right and aiming for the best possible outcomes. Eseta and her team work hard to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and that the appropriate government departments hear those voices and can make fully-informed decisions.

Are there any reflections that you would like to share?

Hine’s work in Gisborne is inspiring; I would hope that their continued success and ability to meet the demand from the powers-that-be for documented evidence will lead to a more wide-spread acceptance/use of the programme. (Te Kuwatawata)

If you could change one thing relating to Mental Health & Addictions, what would that be?

I am hoping that the Mental Health Inquiry will highlight the need for MH&A to receive appropriate funding to be able to employ the right people for the job of helping whaiora on their journey to wellness, acceptance, and a bright future

What is your favourite “whakatauki – words of wisdom”?

“Every day above ground is a good day”, Lou Reed


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