Workforce Development

The intention of this page is to provide you with regular updates on the workforce development activities at a regional and national level.  Information provided will be from direct links to the five National Workforce Development Centres and the Te Pou National Workforce Coordinator alliances.  This page will endeavour to highlight any upcoming training, event, hui or conference relevant to the Midland region and ensure you are not missing a beat for any workforce development initiatives coming our way. 

Anything and everything relevant to mental health and addictions workforce development will be available to view on this page so you are well informed.  I welcome your input.   Please feel free to send me your own local activities to showcase - and photos are appreciated!!


Winter 2019 Workforce Planning Lead Update

Motivational Interviewing in Full Effect

In line with the findings from He Ara Oranga (the National Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction 2018), our focus has come to divert as much energy as we can into supporting the workforce to deliver whānau-oriented services that have a strong clinical grounding.  Over the last year, we have run several Single Session Family Consultation trainings.  In those trainings we get a lot of questions about working with people who want to change, but feel stuck, or bogged down with their issues.  That’s hardly surprising given the complexity of Mental Health and Addiction issues and in a lot of ways it is the bread and butter of our mahi. So it followed that we chose to run some Motivational Interviewing (MI) Workshops.

Motivational Interviewing was developed to help people to consider change in a safe and meaningful way. It works with the feeling and thinking aspects of a person’s behaviour, making it good to work with less healthy habits that impact on whānau.  Our trainer Tipene Pickett has trained heaps of practitioners over the years and he has developed his own tikanga-based style of training it.  This gives the training a more grounded and culturally-competent base, allowing practitioners to bring their own wairua, mana and philosophy to the kaupapa.

MI Advance

So far he has run an introductory, 2-day training and an advanced training in the Midland Region.  We are hoping to hold some more across the region in the not-too-distant future. Click here to read report for the advanced training.

I have presented and attended many Motivational Interviewing trainings over the years and it was a pleasure to be in a position to host Tipene at our training at the Hamilton Airport Conference Centre (JetPark), in July. The training was attended by 20 vibrant practitioners from a range of backgrounds and services from across the Region.

MI July

Some of the feedback was….

“I enjoyed participating with a range of people from different professional backgrounds and workplaces.”

“Re-emphasising engagement skills which I had previously learned…. I found practicing MI skills very helpful.”

“Great training. [I] have a better understanding of MI and how to apply it.” 

The workshop wasn’t only hard mahi and concentration – there was lots of laughter, sharing of stories and waiata. The food was awesome and we were well looked after by the JetPark staff, Xena and Lovepreet, who got a special shout-out and a waiata towards the end of the second day.

MI July Full

In my role as Workforce Planning Lead for the Midland Region, I am priviliged to spend time with people from all across the sector, working hard out in all sorts of situations. In trainings, it is not uncommon for their vulnerabilities, expressiveness, humour and humility all to come across and I enjoy working alongside of them in that.

Thank you whānau, one and all – you draw me back each day!

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Autumn 2019 Workforce Planning Lead Update

Single Session Family Consultation Training Evaluation 

Those of you, who are in the know, will know that we have been running a series of Single Session Family Consultations Trainings throughout the Midland region… Those not in the know will no doubt want to know that Single Session Family Consultation is a neat and easy to pick up method that Mental Health / Addiction Workers can adopt to use to work with whānau! A full description of SSFC can be found here.

We were really stoked with the workshops that ran from August through November 2018. We held them in Taranaki (2), Bay of Plenty (2), Waikato (1), Lakes (1) and Hauora Tairāwhiti (1).  Overall, we had 100 participants from a whole range of services, disciplines and backgrounds. 

We were actively supported in delivery of the workshops by Bronwyn Dunnachie (Werry Workforce Whāraurau), Andrea Rowe (formerly of Tui Ora, Taranaki) and Beth Thomas (Bay of Plenty Community Mental Health Team), all of whom gave up many hours and other resources to support in co-delivery. I know that they enjoyed this mahi as much as I did and it was awesome to be working alongside of them and all of our trainees!

I recently wrote up an evaluation of the workshops and I thought that I would share some of our findings….

An overwhelming majority provided very positive feedback about the training and there were a number of requests for more training and support.

There were a number of requests for Māori-centric Kaupapa models, rather than models brought in from overseas for use with whānau.  Where we are using overseas models, there needs to be more consideration towards working with Tangata Whenua. We certainly acknowledge the limitations in this and there is work going on nationally to ensure that this occurs. There were however loads of positive comments from kaupapa providers about how they can utilise the model, or at least aspects of the model, so we felt that was positive too.

The other major item that was of concern to the trainees is how the model can be supported in practice. There were many calls for ongoing support and supervision and additional training to support delivery. This is the ongoing work that we have and we shall continue support this crucial kaupapa through 2019 and beyond.

All in all, we got loads of positive comments, a fair few constructive criticisms and only one really negative comment out of all of those evaluations! So, we were stoked with our trainees.

I am always looking forward to doing more of this with my colleagues throughout the region.

NKOTR 1Ngā Kōmata-O-Te-Rangi

I was really fortunate to be able to attend Ngā Kōmata o Te Rangi – Hauora Hinengaro Māori Mental Health on the 28 & 29 March hosted by the humble and welcoming tangata whenua of Mangatoatoa Paa, at Te Mawhai Road, Tokanui, the venue was beautiful and the ideal setting for this kaupapa.

This would not have taken place if it wasn't for the organisers from Te Roopu Tautoko ki Waikato (Kaupapa Māori Services from across the Waikato rohe) in partnership with Te Rau Ora (previously Te Rau Matatini), Te Huinga o Nga Pou Hauora - Midland MH&A Maori Leadership Network and Waikato District Health Board.  Sponsorship was received by Bay of Plenty & Lakes DHBs, Pinnacle, Careerforce & Hauraki PHO.

InfoGraphic SmThe hui was described as “a call to Māori to come together in a proactive stance for our mental health, to give action to our collective voices, and  bring positive change for our people”.  Up to 178 people attended the conference with 88% being of Maori descent from across the North Island - click here to view infographic stats.

The aims and vision were:

  • To acknowledge our achievements, where we have come from, collective vision, and where we want to go together 
  • To showcase, and realise, local and national Māori approaches that work for our people and how these types of mental health wellness programmes, can be implemented for our people.
  • Realizing Pae ora, oranga tangata, oranga whanau, oranga taiao, oranga Māori for our people
  • To explore and agree to a clear action orientated pathway for Hauora Hinengaro Māori


And with speakers such as Sir Mason Durie, Dr Diane & Mark Kopua and Dr Rees Tapsell – as well as many, many others, the hui totally delivered on all of those aspects!

Mason was the highlight (although there were plenty of close seconds!) – it really stood out that nearly every other speaker throughout the days referred back to his kōrero. He was nothing less than visionary, taking us all on a time-travel to 30-years into the future to 2049, where we looked back at all of our achievements since the hui! He presented us with the possibility that the DHB and Public Heatlh Office had merged, becoming Health Waikato and where Māori hauora was commissioned and delivered by Māori…. The suicide rate for Māori had plummeted and health and health literacy was well up!


The key message was that the time is now. It is not only possible, but probable and achievable to create something more for Tangata Whaiora and for their whānau. And I think that everyone felt something of that from Mason’s kōrero. He is a very clever man and he delivered all of that in such a humble and friendly way. I even saw him later allowing himself to be in people’s selfies!

And that, I think, captured something of the spirit of Ngā Kōmata o Te Rangi. Everyone was in it together. There were lots of smiles and lots of tears (the subject matter was totally overwhelming at times!). There were many, many old friends and acquaintances from years gone by. The kai was awesome and plentiful and there was laughter and song woven throughout the two-days.

It gave me hope and inspiration and I was privileged to have been a (small) part of that!  Click here to view presentations from the hui.


Learning Te Ara Reo Māori at Te Waananga o Aotearoa!

In 2018, I chose to formalise my learning in Te Reo Māori, by studying Level 1 & 2 Te Ara Reo Māori at Te Waananga o Aotearoa.  This is a crucial kaupapa in our mahi and something that I have been compelled to understand and work better with throughout my life. To end 2018, I thought that I would share some of that journey with you…

“He hōnore he kokōria ki te atua
He maungārongo ki te whenua
He whakairo pai ki ngā tangata katoa
Ihu karaiti te atua te piriinga tōku oranga 

Tihei Mauri Ora!

Ka mihi ki taku whānau o te Ara Reo Māori. Tēnā Koutou Katoa. Nau mai, haerae mai 
Tēnā Koutou! Tēnā Koutou! Tēnā Koutou Katoa!”

 Te Ara Reo Maori 19

….and so began my kōrero to my class at Te Waananga o Aotearoa, at the end of 2018. A 10-minute presentation - a Tangata Rongonui that I wrote about my son... To pass, we were required to incorporate all of our learning from the year. I had to mihi and to welcome everyone. I had to give my Pepeha, to tell my audience where I hail from and who my ancestors were and who my whānau, hapū and iwi are… “Ngati Ingirangi tōku Iwi, Ngati Scotland tōku Iwi, Ngati Ireland tōku  Iwi, Ngati Welsh tōku  Iwi - we have Gypsy blood!”. I had to announce the day, date and time. Given that it was it was 10-minutes to 8, on Tuesday evening, 20 November, 2018, I told them “Ko te Turei, te rua tekau o Noema, i te tau rua mano tekau ma waru. Ko te kau miniti ki te whitu karaka te wa!”

I introduced my Tangata Rongonui, “Ko Angus Neale te tama ia. Ko te Angus Neale te Tangata Rongonui”. Then I described his karu kikorangi (blue eyes), makuwe paraure (brown hair) and puku tūpuhi (skinny build)! I described some of my son’s traits, like his hinengaro arohanui (loving soul) and some of his qualities, like his hauora (health). Then I described his interests, in panui pukapuka (reading books) and the things that he is good at – te omaoma (football) and moe (having a sleep).

Finally, I gave a whakatoeke that reminded me of Angus “Kimihia te matauranga. Engari, kaua e wareware ki te matauranga a nga tipuna. Kei roto i to tātou Hitori he oranga mo tātou!” (“Seek after knowledge. But don’t forget the knowledge of our ancestors. Within our history is our future wellbeing!”) – a part of me wants him to slow down and to be more in the moment…. He wants more and more of what is out there for him…

And then I wished everybody well and closed my presentation.

All in all, the presentation took about 8-minutes. We had to give 5 examples of each of those characteristics, traits, etc. It had to be all written up correctly and it had to be pronounced right – or we were pulled up mid-presentation to repeat our point.

It was a magical moment you know – to grasp that actually some of this whakaaro had embedded somewhere in my head and that I can access it if I have to. Even though the presentation was not “real” korero, it was a step towards that. And now I know that with continued practice and support, I will become more and more automatic in my dialogue. So, I shall head back to Te Waananga o Aotearoa once again, in 2019!


National Youth Forensics ForumWerry

The National Youth Forensics forum was held on the 04 & 05 October in Auckland at Manawanui Marae, facilitated by Werry Workforce Whãraurau.

One of the keynote speakers was Judge Tony FitzGerald who is based in Auckland and spends about 60% of his time in the Youth Court and the rest in the adult criminal courts. He has a special interest in therapeutic jurisprudence and solution-focussed approaches to the cases of those people who come before the court with mental health concerns.

Regional Forensics

He is the patron of FASD-CAN (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – Care Action Network).  Click here to watch the video presentations.


SteveAnd still, yet MORE on our whānau support kaupapa!

For those of you who read my last TWO articles over the last couple of issues, I apologise, but I am STILL on about our whānau support kaupapa…. For those of you who haven’t, nau mai haere mai – welcome! I have been on a journey, you see! We have a vision for whānau to be more included in treatment and care.  Whānau have long sought information and support and to learn how best to support whaiora through their recovery journeys.

It is fascinating you know, because when I think of myself in my own journey through adolescence, if someone had suggested that my whānau be part of my recovery, I would have hit the roof! There were times when I couldn’t look them in the eye and I certainly couldn’t bear hearing their pain and judgement and self-remorse about how we all were! Ultimately, in the current mahi, the whaiora gets to choose whether there is whānau involvement or not and, crucially, they get to choose which whānau are invited in… I do think that if I had been given that choice and/or my whānau had been more AOD literate, if they had some sort of mental health and addictions knowledge, maybe, just maybe a bridge might have formed. We will never know, but I can happily tell you that over time, we came back together anyway. We can all sit in the same room and we can all discuss pretty much anything that is going on. I think we are amongst the lucky ones – I am fully aware that many whānau never get that opportunity.

And that is why I want to support whānau to support their loved ones – whether it is from far away, through irreconcilable differences, or from up close and personal in a place of conflict…. Or even from a place of loving acceptance – if those whānau have more information and more support, then they are going to be in a better place for their loved ones. OR for someone else’s loved ones.

And that leads me to another reason to support this crucial kaupapa. We are running out of mental health and addictions workers! The ones we have are stretched to capacity – and beyond. And we are all ageing and retiring and there are not so many new folk coming into the field… Meanwhile the numbers of people accessing services are increasing and the issues that we deal with are becoming more complex. We need recovery to be alive and well in communities to support the more specialised work carried out in treatment centres and I believe that whānau can be an important part of that kaupapa.

SSFC Taranaki 1And so, some colleagues and I have been training practitioners across the region to conduct what is called a Single Session Family Consultation (SSFC). SSFC is a framework that engages whānau and aims to support involvement in the treatment of whaiora and assist whānau to work holistically with their needs.  A full description of SSFC can be found here. It is a simple way of facilitating a meeting with a whānau where there are mental health and/or addictions issues affecting them. What’s great about it is that you don’t have to be a Family Therapist to run it! The whānau are their-own experts and the facilitator is there simply to assist the process.

So far we have done three workshops (two in Taranaki and one in Bay of Plenty) to a total of 36 individuals, from a range of services. I am pleased to say that the feedback has been awesome, meaning that we are really hitting the mark and I am enjoying interacting with such varied, vibrant and talented colleagues. It is a privilege to be supporting their mahi.

And, as I said last time around, there is WAY more to this exciting project! Our ultimate aim is to establish Whānau Support Hubs in each DHB in the region, so watch this space for further information.


Naku noa na

Steve Neale
Workforce Planning Lead
Midland Region Mental Health & Addiction Network
HealthShare Ltd


WF PlanMidland Region MH&A Workforce Action Plan (2018-21)

The Midland Region MH&A Workforce Action Plan (2018-21), follows on from the region’s 2015-18 plan.  All initiatives outlined in the former plan were completed to a high standard and affected change in a number of areas.  The 2018-21 plan builds upon the achievements delivered through the former plan and aligns itself to current and recent developments in policy and practice.

The Health Workforce New Zealand, Mental Health and Addiction Workforce Action Plan (MoH, 2017), lays out the expected direction for workforce development for the Mental Health and Addiction sector.  The plan has four priority areas, each of which has three to four actions.  To ensure that our plan delivers the best possible results, the Midland Regional Mental Health and Addiction (MRMH&A) Workforce Leadership Network agreed to select one significant action from each priority area.

Please click here to read the plan.

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Working with families and whānau: 5-Step Method training and accreditation programme

The 5- Step Method is a model for working directly with concerned family members affected by the substance use of a family member within the family or whānau. Matua Raki in collaboration with key stakeholders, and the Method developers have made cultural adaptations to the original Method for the Aotearoa New Zealand context.

Please see the flyer attached for more details about the accreditation process. The training and accreditation programme are free.

If you feel you meet the criteria for selection, please use this link to apply to be considered for this programme:

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