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. Talk to your child's teacher, or a member of the school staff, to check if Mana Ake is the right service to support your child. If your child does not currently attend a school, you can request support directly from Mana Ake via

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.

  • Mana Ake karakia read by Karaitiana Tickell

    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

New kaimahi join Mana Ake whānau

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New kaimahi join Mana Ake whānau
The Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow initiative achieved a special milestone this week when they welcomed 19 new team members, marking the final scheduled intake of dedicated wellbeing and mental health workers to support Canterbury’s five to 12 year olds.
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Mana Ake ‘shows what’s possible when communities come together’
The Minister of Health took the opportunity to talk to children, teachers and special education needs coordinators (SENCOs) today when he visited Christchurch to talk about the innovative initiative providing wellbeing and mental health support to children.
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Mana Ake featured in Well Now magazine

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Mana Ake featured in Well Now magazine
Read an update about Mana Ake - Stronger for Tomorrow in the latest edition of Canterbury DHB's Well Now magazine.
Read More
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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