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

Mana Ake kaimahi are employed by one of 13 providers and work with schools to support teachers, families and whānau when children are experiencing issues that impact their wellbeing such as managing emotions, friendships and bullying, parental separation and grief and loss.

Kaimahi have a diverse range of skills and include psychologists, social workers, counsellors, teachers and youth workers. Kaimahi can work with 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.

You can talk to your local school to find out about what is being offered by the Mana Ake team.

If you're concerned about your child’s wellbeing or mental health, you should talk to their 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 manaakefeedback@cdhb.health.nz

Mana Ake team leaders (kaiarahi) support geographic teams of kaimahi. If you have a query about Mana Ake you can contact the kaiarahi for your area (phone numbers to the right).

See the links under the Related Pages heading to find out more about supporting a child’s wellbeing. This list includes the Mana Ake website

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

Wellbeing initiative provides long-term benefits for tamariki

30 Nov, 2020 | Return|

Early intervention and collaborative approaches such as those being put in place by Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow have been shown to result in a range of wellbeing benefits for children and their whānau, according to findings from a report released today.

Launched early in 2018 as part of the Government’s plan to wrap support around children living in earthquake affected communities, Mana Ake supports children at school and at home. It provides parents, whānau and teachers with advice, guidance and education about mental health and wellbeing.

The report, produced by ImpactLab, estimated the social value (the social impact in dollar terms for participants over their lifetime) for each participant is $23,652 – a return of $13.32 of ‘measurable good’ to our community for every dollar invested in Mana Ake. Authors noted the real-world impact is likely to be much greater.

“The global literature indicates that an early intervention approach focusing on the development of self-control and resilience can result in life-long positive impacts not only for these students, but for society as a whole,” says Emma Chatterton, ImpactLab Project Lead.

Emma added: “In order to create change, Mana Ake recognises that those who are best placed to identify and respond to the wellbeing and mental health needs of tamariki are their whānau, teachers and the social services, health care providers and communities that already exist around them.

“By highlighting the value of these relationships, creating shared resources and communication strategies and working to build connections between schools and other agencies, Mana Ake helps schools and communities to  develop sustainable approaches that enable timely, locally relevant and evidence-informed responses for their tamariki.”

Ken Stewart, Co-Chair of the Mana Ake Service Level Alliance, says it’s the initiative’s ability to regularly evaluate and adapt responses according to need that generates such positive outcomes.

“We recognised a pattern of referrals from schools over time suggesting that self-control (the ability to recognise and manage thoughts and emotions) was a common underlying factor, and we have responded with a range of evidence informed individual and group interventions that help to address this.”

Mana Ake is designed and developed by schools, social service providers, Oranga Tamariki and the sponsor organisations - Canterbury District Health Board, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health – through a Canterbury Clinical Network-led Service Level Alliance.

Mana Ake delivers dedicated wellbeing and mental health support to children in school years 1-8 across Canterbury, with kaimahi (workers) helping children learn skills such as coping with change or challenges, managing their emotions, building positive relationships and overcoming grief and loss.

Although pre-dating the Government’s wellbeing budget in 2019, the initiative is part of a large programme of work designed to change the way mental health and wellbeing support is delivered in and by communities.

“Ensuring children and young people have early access to support that provides the foundations of life long mental wellbeing can take many different forms, so it’s important we tailor approaches to meet the needs of different communities,” says Toni Gutschlag, Acting Deputy Director-General of Mental Health and Addiction, Ministry of Health.

For more information read ImpactLab’s full report here or the summary here.

About the Author


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Key contacts

Cushla Waghorn

Kaikoura, Hurunui and Rangiora



Bernice Swain

Northcote, Kaiapoi and Burnside

022 0775 090


Jonathan Crosby

Christian and Catholic schools;

North West Christchurch and Hornby

027 928 2172


Becky Voisey

New Brighton, Shirley and Pito Mata

020 273 9316


AJ Van Dam

Central City, Linwood and Riccarton

022 060 6628


Liz Riley

Opawa, Cashmere, Sumner and Halswell

021 316 960


Sandra Keenan

Lincoln, Ellesmere, Akaroa and Malvern

021 969 128


Kelsi Thompson

Ashburton and Methven

027 215 3723


Useful resources

Mana Ake website

A new website designed to share information and resources with whānau.

Information flyer

Explains what Mana Ake is and how to access it.

Young one starting school?

A book for parents explaining how to support your child starting a new school.

Voices of Mana Ake - video

Inteviews with principals, Provider Network members and kaimahi. 

Work Plan 2020-21

For Mana Ake SLA. Read full CCN work plan.