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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

Budding artists share skills with the community

18 Mar, 2021 | Return|

A group of budding artists shared their skills with the Ashburton community last weekend, as they celebrated their first pop-up exhibition at the Ashburton Art Gallery.

The young artists are part of the Takiwātanga Ashburton for Kids with Autism (T.A.K.A) group, which hosts a weekly ‘Artism’ class where tamariki can come together to kōrero and create.

Celia Colcord, co-founder of T.A.K.A and team leader for Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow, said the idea for a support group came about when she noticed several of the requests for support she received through Mana Ake were for children who were diagnosed with autism, or who were going through the diagnoses process.

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects social and communication skills. The traits associated with autism span a wide spectrum and lead to a different way of seeing the world and interacting with others.

Celia said: “I set up an optional support group for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder and that developed into T.A.K.A, with the support of co-founder Marie Maeva. We noticed that a number of the children enjoyed art and from there a weekly art group, Artism, was established.”

Doubling as an opportunity for social learning, friendship building and group support, Artism meets every Monday at the He Waka Tapu office in Ashburton. Children in the group range from five to 16 years old. 

“The meetings are a huge success because the children just understand and accept each other. While they’re focusing on art, we can also talk about friendships and provide some strategies around social interactions,” added Celia.

The exhibition held Saturday to Monday 13 – 15 March, was a resounding success. “Everyone loved seeing their work in the gallery and there was a real sense of unity among the group,” added Celia.

This isn’t the first time the group has shared their creations with the world – last year they created a Christmas window display in Ashburton.

Mana Ake provides support to children in Canterbury, in years 1-8 at school, promoting wellbeing and positive mental health. Mana Ake kaimahi (workers) support schools, 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.

For more information visit www.manaake.health.nz

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.