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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

12 Oct, 2021 | Return|

Shaping the future of Mana Ake

The Mana Ake team continues the co-design journey, using feedback from schools and providers to shape how Mana Ake will look in the future.

Responses to a survey carried out by the Ministry of Education earlier this year showed that schools rated support for individual tamariki, group interventions and support for parents as the highest priority activities for Mana Ake going forward. It also confirmed the importance of an approach that promotes equity, while recognising that decile and socio-economic status are not the only considerations for achieving equity.

Several clusters have developed ways of agreeing how best to allocate resource equitably for their context and have been implementing sustainable working practices to ensure capacity is used to support the tamariki and whānau who need it the most. This includes:

  • Teachers and school staff using Leading Lights as a first port of call for tools and resources for use in the classroom, as well as information to share with whānau.
  • Offering parent drop-in sessions with kaimahi, in person or online, prior to considering a Request for Support.
  • Education staff and general practice teams continuing to use ERMS Online to share information about any health-related concern for a child/young person.

It’s important that Mana Ake remains a highly flexible and responsive initiative so support best meets the needs of our tamariki and their whānau.


Supporting the national roll out of Mana Ake

Members of the governance group (the Mana Ake Service Level Alliance) have been approached to share learnings from Canterbury by key people in the five DHB areas – Counties Manukau, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and West Coast – set to roll Mana Ake out over the coming year.

Denise Torrey, Principal of Somerfield School and school sector perspective on the SLA, has presented to the Principals from these areas, providing a picture of how Mana Ake works in the Canterbury context. Denise has shared insights about learnings in in Canterbury, as well as outlining some of the barriers and pitfalls. Each area has been encouraged to use Canterbury’s experience but co-design for their own context.

Dr Bronwyn Dunnachie, Senior Advisor for Werry Workforce Whāraurau and specialist mental health perspective on the SLA, has attended hui in Counties Manukau and Northland to share key learnings to inform their local co-design.

Murray Roberts, Canterbury’s implementation lead, has been appointed as the Education Lead supporting the roll out on the West Coast.

Download a PDF of the key messages here.

About the Author


Latest key messages released

Latest key messages released

The Mental Health Support in Schools SLA has released key messages from its 11 April meeting.

Read More >
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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New kaimahi join Mana Ake whānau

New kaimahi join Mana Ake whānau

The Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow initiative achieved a special milestone this week when they we...

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Mana Ake featured in Well Now magazine

Mana Ake featured in Well Now magazine

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

Read More >
Provider information forum and workshop

Provider information forum and workshop

A forum to provide an overview and update on the implementation of the Mental Health Support in Scho...

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Mana Ake team finalists in the Spirit of Service Awards 2019

Mana Ake team finalists in the Spirit of Service Awards 2019

Mana Ake - Stronger for Tomorrow has been selected as a finalist for the Spirit of Service awards in...

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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.