Mental health and wellbeing of Te Tai Tokerau taitamariki set to benefit from new service announced by Minister of Health

Friday 7 May 2021

He Kakano Ahau - Andrew Little speaks - 7 May 2021.jpg

Minister of Health Andrew Little has today announced funding to support a new mental health and addiction service for taitamariki (young people) in Te Tai Tokerau called He Kakano Ahau.

Through He Kakano Ahau, taitamariki and their whānau will be able to access immediate mental health and addiction support in their community when they need it, will be more easily connected to wider mental health and wellbeing services across our region, and they will have one youth worker helping them on their pathway to wellbeing.

Working under the He Kakano Ahau umbrella will be six primary youth mental health teams spread across Te Tai Tokerau, each including a primary mental health coordinator, a youth worker and a senior mental health and addictions clinician.

He Kakano Ahau will operate using an ‘any door is the right door’ approach for people to access the service, which can include self-referral or referral from another health and wellbeing care provider. There will be no fees charged or ‘criteria’ for taitamariki to access the service.  

Mahitahi Hauora has collaborated with taitamariki and their whānau in our community, Northland District Health Board, Māori Health Providers, substance abuse and addiction services and youth providers across our region to develop this new service and approach.

Mahitahi Hauora Acting CEO Jensen Webber says of the new service: “I am excited that our taitamariki here in Te Tai Tokerau will soon be supported with access to skilled teams who can immediately respond to any youth in distress, support whānau to feel safe, and receive familiar and consistent help in their own community to navigate and connect them with the services they need.

"By providing care to whānau in their own communities, supported by people they know and trust, they will be nurtured and empowered to live and reach their fullest health and wellbeing potential.”

Jensen also explains the significance of the name of this new service to the kaupapa: “He Kakano ahau, I ruia mai I Rangiatea. I shall never be lost, for I am a seed sown in Rangiātea.”

"Born of greatness, the name of this new service comes from this whakataukī, which speaks to us about our beginning and our collective responsibility to each other. It highlights that we all aspire to fulfil our potential," he said.

"Knowing who we are and where we are going, will help us to thrive and grow.

"For those of us providing care and support to whanau and our communities, it encourages us to provide a korowai of services around whānau and strengthen collaborative and integrated responses across Taitokerau.

"Through the tightly knit relationships of youth workers to whānau, feeding into the arteries of service support,  we aim through He Kakano Ahau to keep young people with their whānau balanced, whole, and connected.”

Seven Māori Health Providers and Non Government Organisations (NGOs) have been contracted to deliver these services. They are: Ngāti Hine Health Trust; Whangārei Youth Space; Te Runanga o Whaingaroa; Te Ha Oranga; Ki A Ora Ngati Wai; Hokianga Health; and Te Hiku Hauora. 

Recruitment for He Kakano Ahau team members will begin over the next few months.

Read Ministry of Health media release: More young Kiwis supported with mental health and addiction services