Mana Ake - Stronger for Tomorrow

  • About
  • Background
  • Karakia

Mana Ake - Stronger for Tomorrow provides support for children aged five to 12 years old across Canterbury.

Mana Ake kaimahi work with schools to support teachers, families and whānau when children are experiencing ongoing issues that impact their wellbeing such as anxiety, social isolation, parental separation, grief and loss and managing emotions.

Kaimahi have a diverse range of skills and include psychologists, social workers, counsellors, teachers and youth workers. Kaimahi can work with individual children and their families at school, in the community or at home and with groups of children in schools. They provide advice, guidance and support for teachers and family/ whānau.

Mana Ake is now available to children in schools across Canterbury. Have a look at the list to find out when your school will have access to Mana Ake and talk with them about making a request for support.

There are three key elements of the Mana Ake initiative – additional FTE, changing the way we work and the web-based Leading Lights tool.



Kaimahi are employed directly by 13 non-government organisations (NGOs) who make up the provider network. They operate as a virtual team and are flexible to quickly respond to the needs of a child as wellbeing concerns arise.

Changing the way we work

Mana Ake, alongside the Learning Support delivery approach, promotes collaboration to enable clusters of schools, kura and early childhood education (ECE) to work with support services ensuring that resources are targeted most effectively to those who need them.

Mana Ake works with and through school communities by complementing and enhancing existing pastoral care support to intervene early means we can stop some children’s needs escalating.

Leading Lights

Leading Lights is a website designed specifically for teachers and education professionals which helps them to identify children with specific health, learning or wellbeing needs and provide ideas and strategies of about how these children are best supported within schools.

Guidance includes recognising and responding to a child’s mental and physical health, behavioural or learning needs; advice and resources for supporting individual children, the class, the family/whānau, and support agencies; and how to request specialist and support services in the local education and health systems.

E atawhai ana mātou

Te whakatōkia o ngā kakano i ruia mai

E nga māhuri tōtara e tipu ana mō āpōpō.

Nā tātou katoa hei awhi te kaupapa,

Hei mana ake te tū tauira tonu ai.

Haumi ē, Hui ē, Tāiki ē.


We nurture and protect

the seeds sown near and far,

so that they may grow into mighty totara for a not so distant tomorrow.

We embrace our responsibility,

To encourage students on a path of lifelong learning.

Unified, Together, Strong.

Latest news

Initiative to support and maintain positive mental health launched

Children in Canterbury’s earthquake affected communities are set to benefit from additional support to promote and maintain positive mental health as the first phase of a new initiative is launched.

The first workers of the Government’s initiative to enhance mental health support in schools, Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow, went live in Tamai and Hornby Kāhui Ako (Communities of Learning) today.

The two Kāhui Ako [Tamai and Hornby] were chosen because they have significant diversity and provide an opportunity to improve equitable access to health support and services. The Hornby cluster of schools [Kāhui Ako] reflects the increased demand in the area following post-quake population movement.

Canterbury DHB Chief Executive, David Meates said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to get this initiative underway and start providing practical, hands-on support to schools, children and their whanau.”

The initiative is led by Chair of the Canterbury Clinical Network, Sir John Hansen.

“As more schools come on board the foundations will be built on so we can ensure resources are tailored to the needs of each community and aligned with existing services,” Sir John said.

Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow is being developed collaboratively by people working in education, health, police, Oranga Tamariki, and non-Government Organisations.

The initial design of an electronic pathways tool (Leading Lights) has been created to help education professionals navigate to appropriate health services for children and whanau.

Both the practical and electronic parts of the initiative will continue to be developed in conjunction with schools and shaped by engagement with children and their whanau as it’s progressively rolled out across Canterbury from term 3 (July 2018).  Lessons from implementing Mana Ake in the Kāhui Ako will help inform how we can successfully roll out the programme in other schools.

Picture designed by Freepik.

Mana Ake map - cluster skills/ contacts

Project Lead

Clare Shepherd


P:  021 549 875

Project Team

Murray Roberts


Desiree Ettmuller


P:  022 073 2461

Caralyn Purvis


Team Leaders

Maria Lui - 021 332 048

Joel Brittenden - 020 4177 0038

Kate Walkinshaw - 027 886 5780

Malcolm Gooch - 027 270 6733

Liz Riley - 021 316 960

Antoinette Lewis - 027 275 4229

Fiona Wells - 022 060 6653

Sandra Keenan - 021 128 4820

Media enquiries

Elly Edwards


P:  021 683 728