Our objective is to enhance the capability (skills and knowledge) and capacity (the responsiveness) of the workforce to respond to the needs of whānau who have addiction-related issues. The key drivers for the addiction programmes are to increase, build and support a capable workforce that integrates mātauranga Māori as part of best practice when working with whānau.

Wellbeing from addiction for Māori is entrenched in cultural interventions which address wellbeing as a whole in a holistic way. The key to understanding the benefit of culturally focused addiction treatment is recognizing what gives purpose and value to the relationship and the ability of helpers to engage with a person and their whānau in a meaningful culturally safe way.

Te Rau Ora delivers activities that connect and reconnect people through leadership, learning, community enhancement, addiction workforce scholarships and work-based placements, always putting people at the heart of what we do.

The Alcohol and Drug Workforce Innovation

In 2019, Te Rau Ora and New Zealand Drug Foundation announced a new partnership and approach to workforce development and addiction through an integrated model of prevention. Our overall aim wil be to To create a future addiction workforce that is whānau-centred and community-focused, flexible, redesigned for new scopes of practice, culturally competent and willing to innovate to improve Māori health outcomes and reduce disparities.

Te Hau Mārire

Te Hau Mārire: Addiction Workforce Strategic Framework (2015-2025) brought together the knowledge and experiences of Māori in the addiction treatment sector to create a strategic framework to guide the development of an effective workforce that will contribute to the minimisation of addiction-related harm and achievement of whānau ora.

Te Hau Mārire recognises that the addiction workforce potentially includes everyone who works with people experiencing addiction-related harm. This includes those who specialise in the assessment and management of addiction-related harm as well as people who encounter addiction-related harm in more generalist settings, such as primary care, Whānau Ora services, social services, justice services, or education.


The formation of this national Māori addiction leadership group originated from the Māori Pre-Cutting Edge Hui held at Owhata Marae, Hinemoa Point Rotorua, September 2018.  The hui was a day of collaboration, celebration and whanaungatanga for kaimahi  Māori in the addiction treatment sector .   In response to a motion from the hui was support for the  establishment of a national Māori addiction leadership group.

The purpose of the group is to ensure Māori representation on issues associated with substance misuse prevention, treatment and wellbeing:

  • The establishment of a national Māori collective voice on alcohol and other drug policy;
  • Increase the visibility on the implications of legal and illicit substances on Māori peoples;
  • Influence the current governments approach to Māori substance use (including select committees and enquires), Ministry of Health, Department of Corrections, Ministry of Justice Health, NZ Police, Department of Courts, Ministry of Social Development, Health Promotion Agency on prioritising Māori alcohol and drug policies;
  • Promote Māori specific approaches to supply control, problem limitation and harm reduction;
  • Improve the meaningful inclusion of Māori into alcohol and drug research, policy and intervention;
  • Challenge the war on drugs methodology and these implications on Māori; and
  • Work to support innovation and transformational change within the criminal justice system.

Manaaki: Mana enhancing and Mana protecting practice

The Substance Addiction (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Bill (SACAT) replaced the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act (1966).
One of the key expectations of the proposed new legislation is that services involved in the compulsory assessment and treatment of substance-related harm will demonstrate manaaki through mana enhancing and protecting practice.

To download Manaaki: Mana enhancing and Mana protecting practice – Practitioner Resources click here.
For further information contact: or

He Puna Whakaata

He Puna Whakaata is a resource and training program integrating Māori concepts with the principles of motivational interviewing. It utilises a Te Whare Tapa Whā framework to make some aspects of mātauranga Māori more accessible to whānau engaged in change. The therapeutic activities described in He Puna Whakaata are discrete activities, each with its own focus.  
For further information about this training contact:

Health Not Handcuffs

Te Rau Ora joined the New Zealand Drug Foundation and four other public health and social justice organisations to set up the Health not Handcuffs coalition, a vehicle for people who want to overhaul our outdated drug law. We believe an urgent CHANGE is required as it’s clear that Māori are unfairly carrying the burden.

Māori are more likely to suffer harm from drug use, less likely to be able to access health treatment, and more likely to be convicted than other groups:

  • 41% of those charged for minor drug offences are Māori.
  • More than 50 percent of people imprisoned for those same offences are Māori.

In 2017, 1577 Māori were convicted for low level drug use. The coalition is calling on the Government to: remove criminal penalties for drug use and possession and move instead to a better health – helper model; double New Zealand’s yearly budget for drug-related prevention, education, harm reduction and treatment; and regulate the legal supply of cannabis, to improve public health.

Health not Handcuffs is a new movement – if you want to express support for a fresh approach to drug use. Sign up today to help us………

If you feel like you need more immediate help contact: 


Other Sites in Our Network