New kaupapa Māori mental health and addiction services to support people in central North Island


New mental health and addiction services rolling out across the central North Island will improve outcomes and equity for Māori, Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health) Peeni Henare says.

Today the Minister met with providers of the new kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction service, Poutama Ora, which will deliver mental health and addiction support across Rotorua and Taupō.

“People receiving support in a culturally safe and inclusive way are much more likely to have a positive experience and better results. That’s why I’m pleased to join in the celebrations of this new dedicated kaupapa Māori service,” Peeni Henare said.

The community based Poutama Ora service is intended to be the first point of contact for people experiencing mild to moderate mental distress or addiction issues.

Poutama Ora will use cultural methodologies such pūrākau (mythological traditions) and culturally relevant activities to identify, understand and address mental distress and addiction issues. One example is the Tāne Ora ‘Command of the waka’ programme, which was launched on Lake Ōkareka during the Minister’s visit.

“I am pleased to witness what modern-day mental health and addiction support looks like for Māori. These services appreciate the importance of heritage in the journey to wellbeing and make that accessible to tangata whaiora Māori who may need support.”

The Poutama Ora service is being funded through the Government’s $455 million investment to increase access to, and choice of, mental health and addiction services in primary and community settings.

Within the funding for kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction services, there is allocation for established Māori providers with well-developed infrastructure and services – the Tuakana stream. A second stream of funding, the Teina stream, is an ‘incubator’ for new or smaller Māori providers with propositions that are developed, but would benefit from further support.

“We are only two years into this programme to roll out new, and expand existing, services and already it is making a tangible difference to people’s lives,”

“There are now seven dedicated kaupapa Māori services contracted to deliver support, and there are more coming.”

“In addition, every month more than 11,000 people are getting dedicated mental health and addiction support through their GP clinic, and that number will continue to grow as the services continue to roll out.” Peeni Henare said.


In Rotorua the Poutama Ora service will be delivered by Te Arawa Whānau Ora Charitable Trust and Korowai Aroha Charitable Trust. Tūwharetoa Health Charitable Trust will deliver the service in Taupō.

Key milestones for the Access and Choice programme as at the end of May 2021 include:

  • More than 152,000 sessions delivered across Māori, Pacific and youth communitybased services and General Practice sites.
  • Around 60 fulltime equivalent roles contracted to delivered kaupapa Māori services, with recruitment still underway.
  • Youth services available in 15 district health board areas.
  • Pacific services available in 7 district health board areas.
  • 16 district health board areas now have GP clinics with dedicated mental health and addiction workers (through the Integrated Primary Mental Health and Addiction service).