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About Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group

Te Hau Toka was set up in 2020 in response to community-wide mental health impacts as a result of COVID 19.  Members include the Te Whatu Ora Southern (formerly the District Health Board), WellSouth Primary Health Network, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Central Lakes Family Services, Tāhuna-Whakatipu Māori Community, the Southern Mental Health and Addiction Network Leadership Group, and the Fiordland Wellbeing Collective.  Meet the Te Hau Toka team.

The group partners with agencies and networks to help co-ordinate an overall picture of ongoing needs which includes sharing wellbeing concerns, monitoring mental health service capacity, and working together on ways to tackle the wellbeing effects in communities.

On 1 July 2021, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment provided a $3 million, two-year fund to support mental wellbeing in Southern communities worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.  The fund is part of the Government’s Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery, and Re-Set Plan and is being administered by Te Whatu Ora Southern, with the guidance of Te Hau Toka. It focuses on the tourism-dependent Queenstown Lakes and Fiordland communities, however Te Hau Toka has also included Cromwell as many people work in the Queenstown Lakes area.

Priority communities identified by Te Hau Toka to be supported through this investment are: 1) youth and families/whānau; 2) business owners/managers/leaders; 3) migrant/ethnic communities; 4) new/expectant parents; and 5) older people. 

The objectives of Te Hau Toka are to:

  • Build community resilience and support community wellbeing 
  • Equip people to look after their mental wellbeing (through building resilience and strengthening natural supports)
  • Empower a community-led response and recovery
  • Ensure awareness of pathways to care in community, primary and secondary settings.

The establishment and implementation of Te Hau Toka was underpinned by a number of principles, including:

  • Co-design – designing initiatives with community 
  • Promotion and delivery of strength-based initiatives – building on, and enhancing, community capacity and capabilities 
  • Avoiding duplication of effort - not re-inventing the wheel
  • A resilience focus – implementing initiatives that foster resilience and strengthen self-determination 
  • Health promotion – identifying opportunities for prevention and early intervention and strengthening pathways for community to access additional support
  • Collective impact - working together to achieve change.

Te Hau Toka has worked through a process to evaluate and support more initiatives across the region in order to direct the MBIE funding quickly to where it’s needed most.  Supported by Leadership Lab*, Te Hau Toka worked alongside affected communities in Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago and Fiordland and mental health experts to co-design a plan to best local wellbeing needs and guide decision-making for the $3m MBIE investment.

The co-design process started on 30 September 2021 and was completed in December 2021. The process involved a three-strand strategy - ‘listeners’ going deep into their communities to gain insights from hard to reach voices, surveys and one-on-ones with community support providers, and an expert design challenge.  View the summary reports.

* Leadership Lab has also worked with the Queenstown Lakes District Council to deliver the Te Kakau programme to support local leaders.

A network of wellbeing champions across the Southern Lakes communities is helping to raise awareness of Te Hau Toka initiatives, share their experiences and promote wellbeing opportunities through their networks.

Te Hau Toka’s Executive Oversight Group (EOG) comprises:
•    Jo Brand, Iwi representative for the Tahuna rohe (seven Rūnaka)
•    Glyn Lewers, Queenstown Lakes District Council Mayor 
•    Rob Scott, Southland District Council Mayor 
•    Tim Cadogan, Central Otago District Council Mayor
•    Hamish Brown, Te Whatu Ora Southern District Director

  • Need to Talk? - free call/text 1737 Talk with a trained counsellor, anytime.
  • Depression and Anxiety Helpline - 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions. ·
  • Youthline - Free call 0800 376 633, free text 234, email, webchat
  • Samaritans Aotearoa New Zealand - 0800 726 666 Confidential, non-judgemental and non-religious support for anyone who is lonely or in emotional distress.
  • Healthline - 0800 611 116: For advice from trained registered nurses.
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or free text "Help" to 4357 for counselling and support.
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 TAUTOKO (0508 828 865) A free nationwide service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week which is operated by highly trained and experienced telephone counsellors who have undergone advanced suicide prevention training.