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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

Latest key messages from Mana Ake

01 Feb, 2021 | Return|

1. Supporting ministries to consider future investment

The Mana Ake project team has been working with the executive sponsors – the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, Canterbury District Health Board and Canterbury Clinical Network – to identify and capture the key elements of Mana Ake to guide future investment locally and nationally.

While this work takes place, we continue to support tamariki and whānau and to work with schools/kura and school clusters to embed the positive practices identified as beneficial, including:

  • developing a strategic focus on wellbeing;
  • ensuring that teachers use Leading Lights and its rich range of advice, guidance, and resources as their first port of call;
  • taking up professional learning and development opportunities; and
  • supporting teacher aids to implement wellbeing programmes.


2. Mana Ake – evaluations

Early intervention and collaborative approaches, such as those being put in place by Mana Ake have been shown to result in a range of wellbeing benefits for children and their whānau, according to findings from a report released in November 2020.

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 with authors noting the real-world impact is likely to be much greater. Read the full story here and the full report here.

Another review, commissioned from Malatest by the Ministry of Health, is currently underway with a report expected in the first quarter of 2021.


3. Professional development 2021 – save the date

The 2021 dates for Mana Ake professional development webinars have been confirmed:

  • 24 March – Eating disorders
  • 26 May – Suicidal ideation
  • 23 June – Child development
  • 18 August – ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Professional development sessions are run by a range of practitioners with special interest in their fields and have so far presented on topics such as, anxiety, emotional regulation, eczema, gender diversity and self-harm. These have been recorded and are available on Leading Lights.

Download these messages as a PDF file here.

For more information, please contact the Mana Ake project team. 

About the Author


New website for Mana Ake

New website for Mana Ake

A new website designed to provide advice and support to whānau in Canterbury is now live.

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Key messages from inaugural meeting

Key messages from inaugural meeting

The Mental Health Support in Schools SLA has released key messages from its inaugural meeting, held ...

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Wellbeing initiative provides long-term benefits for tamariki

Wellbeing initiative provides long-term benefits for tamariki

Early intervention and collaborative approaches such as those being put in place by Mana Ake – Stro...

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Celebrating a year since Mana Ake was launched

Celebrating a year since Mana Ake was launched

An event celebrating a year since Mana Ake - Stronger for Tomorrow was launched was held at the desi...

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Mana Ake team featured in Star Media video

Mana Ake team featured in Star Media video

Members of the Mana Ake team spoke with Star Media about the coordinated, collaborative response to ...

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Play therapy – a mechanism for improving wellbeing

Play therapy – a mechanism for improving wellbeing

Children across Canterbury will benefit from ‘play therapy’ as a mechanism for improving wellbeing...

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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.