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!!


Workforce Update July 2021

Quality Data

We are currently working on three projects.

Te Manawa Taki Lived Experience, Peer, and Whānau Led Strategy

The aim of this project is to develop a strategy and framework for lived experience, peer, and whānau provision of service across Te Manawa Taki.  This would include attention to Te Tiriti o te Waitangi and show funders and providers how best to invest and transform the mental health and addiction continuum informed by lived experience.

Te Manawa Taki Level 4 Qualification Framework

To provide the Te Manawa Taki Mental Health and Addiction (MH&A) Networks with an entry level Qualification Framework that will increase the workforce capability and capacity and address the need for more investment in Māori and Pacific people entering the workforce. This project will identify clear pathways for those wanting to enter the workforce, upskill and micro credential using existing programmes and Mātauranga Māori.

Te Manawa Taki Mental Health and Addiction Workforce Strategy Plan 2021-2024

To support transformation, the Te Manawa Taki Mental Health and Addiction Network is revising the current Mental Health and Addiction Workforce Action Plan (2020-2023).

If you would like to be advised when these documents are available, please email us belinda.walker (at)


SteveNWinter 2020 Workforce Planning Lead Update

It seems strangely surreal sitting here, reading my Autumn Workforce Update, reflecting back over the three months that have passed. Once again time has flown by and, once again, it feels like it has been so long since my last update! Strange how time distorts like that and especially so from a place of lockdowns, office relocations and service reconfigurations.

In Autumn I advised you that we had put the release of the revised Workforce Action Plan on hold due to the sudden appearance of COVID-19 and the effects that had impacted on our field so. Now I am pleased to announce that the plan is now ready to be released! Keep an eye out – it’ll be up soon! The plan takes our new, more protected environment into consideration and also incorporates the 2020 Review of Health and Disability Services. Of course, it also takes on board the feedback we received from whānau in our wānanga last year, off the back of He Ara Oranga. I will write more for you all on this, following the official publication.

I also provided a brief description of how our workforce has adapted to the various alert levels over time. It was great to receive feedback about all of the innovations, etc that occurred over that time. Of course, all of the various networks continued through a range of virtual options and the Ministry of Health started to think about how we might embed the learnings that we have all had through this time. The result has been a move towards establishing a Knowledge Exchange Network for Mental Health and Addiction (KEN). You can find out more about the KEN and it’s development by clicking here.

Alongside of all of these developments, in our Regional Planning space, the Midland Regional Network have been considering how we will continue to support the Midland Region. In checking our values and other drivers, we re-visited Maslow and other thinkers in our respective fields. Our thinking reminded us of the work that Phillipa Gaines (et. al) collated in the NGO space in 2015. The documents On Track and Fast Track (both on Te Pou’s website) are well worth a fresh look for anyone seeking to  think about the key issues for further development of the Community Support Workforce. Summary versions of both documents are also available there). We like how both documents work to embed self-determination, focus on and improve workforce and delivery and address sustainability issues.

Finally, a wee look forwards… as I am sure that everyone will be aware, we have an election pending. Whoever you choose to vote for, the choice, of course is entirely down to you. But importantly in this election, we have two referendum that need our consideration. The most relevant to those of us in the Mental Health and Addiction space is the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Referendum. Again, of course how you choose to vote is entirely down to you. What I would however recommend is that you read up on it all before you do! I recently attended a symposium on the referendum and you can read a little more on this here.

Well, that’s about me for now my friends and colleagues! I shall see you again in Spring!


Workforce Planning Lead

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Autumn 2020 Workforce Planning Lead Update

Kia ora koutou Midland Mental Health and Addiction whānau! Welcome to Autumn – and MY, isn’t it a different world that we live in now?

I had hoped to update you all about the newly revised Workforce Strategy that our team has been collaborating on over the last few months – it was SO close to completion! Unfortunately, as with everything else under the sun, COVID-19 has forced us to massively re-think how we approach all of our mahi now. So instead I shall reflect upon how our mighty Mental Health and Addiction Workforce has swung into action to continue to deliver services with whānau throughout the region in lockdown. Ultimately these are the actions that will redefine our workforce for the foreseeable future.

It really is impressive to see all of the innovation that has been going on. It is great to see pretty much all services taking to the multitude of virtual applications available to us. We have heard of some services ensuring that all of their whānau have devices, with data, that will help them to stay engaged.

Clearly there are issues with connectivity, IT-literacy and engaging with new whānau who may not have reached out for help previously. These are all issues that will unfold over time and call upon us to respond in better ways. But I do have to take my hat off to all of those who STILL, despite all of the risks, maintain the frontline in many instances, where technology simply cannot reach whānau. Tiny Deane, from Rotorua is just one such example – you can read about his mahi here: Tiny Dean - Rotorua man with heart of gold.

As part of it’s Let’s Get Real kaupapa, Te Pou o Te Whakaaranui (national centre of evidence-based workforce development for the mental health, addiction and disability sectors in New Zealand), have been working hard to pull together a suite of online learning for those working in the field. You can sign up for the online assessment at: You can also skip straight to the wealth of material: If you navigate down to the “Seven Real Skills” section, you will find many articles, online courses and other helpful information there. I hope that you can get time to explore these valuable resources.

One thing that I have repeatedly heard, almost without exception, across the services that I have been in touch with over the last few weeks (and there have been QUITE a few!), is the increase in awhi, care and support that our people have found from within their own teams. Most have increased their team catch-ups to a few times a week in some instances and even daily in others. There is a sense of connectedness and of sharing that perhaps had not been so present previously. It really does bring it home that we are all in this together!

In closing, we are already starting to see the effects of the ‘second wave’ of this pandemic – the impact on the mental health of whānau everywhere. Those who suddenly find themselves out of work, or on drastically reduced pay. Those becoming increasingly frustrated within their bubbles. Those whose supply of whatever their medicine/escape is depleted, or rapidly running out. Those with the constant anxiety that these times naturally bring. Whatever our role in all of this, we need to stay well ourselves so that we may stay focussed on the needs of others.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you wish to discuss any issues that we have raised. In the meantime, I wish each and every one of you all the best, through-out this time and beyond.


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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!


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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