Members of Te Hau Toka have been involved in various initiatives to date, including:
- QLDC’s multi-agency Kia Kaha Hub which was set up immediately after the first COVID-19 lockdown and assisted more than 1,000 Queenstown Lakes residents. The Hub provided accurate, independent information and advice regarding employment, business support, retraining and career advice, along with wellbeing and welfare needs to all members of the Queenstown Lakes community.
- Scoped and established a new Mental Health Wellbeing Navigator role with the support of local Charitable Trust funds in April 2021 to better connect people with mental health and wellbeing support in their communities. It covered Central Lakes (Queenstown, Wānaka, Central Otago) as a full time role.
A new part-time Community Wellbeing Co-Ordinator role was established in 2022 to help co-ordinate mental wellbeing initiatives in the Fiordland community . The role was created through a partnership between Te Hau Toka and Great South Regional Development Agency , based on the success of the Central Lakes role. A further part-time community Wellbeing Co-ordinator role was added in September 2023.
These navigators have become the central point of reference for our communities – the visible face of Te Hau Toka to help guide and support people towards better mental wellbeing.
- Supported the fast-tracking of the national ’Access and Choice’ mental health initiatives like embedding new Health Improvement Practitioners (HIPs), health coaches and community support workers into primary care, and social workers into schools across the region. This has provided valuable extra mental health and wellbeing support in the past year.
- Rolled out the Mental Health 101 psychological first aid programme with 11 workshops and 102 participants to date (1 workshop was cancelled due to COVID lockdown and 2 workshops were moved online). Attendance at MH101 has been well represented by the business community.
- Brought the National Directory of Suicide Prevention Office to meet with Queenstown Lakes District Councillors, and community providers in Queenstown Lakes and Fiordland (including emergency workers). The discussion included the contributions we can all make to preventing suicides in our communities, the importance of language and well-managed responses when suicides occur.
- Raised local awareness of the free 1737 counselling support helpline and the Mental Health Foundation’s Getting Through Together campaign. 1737 posters have been adapted, using photos of local community members to make them more relatable within our communities.
- Provided better online access to detailed information about health and wellbeing services. This included:
- A Traffic Light Guide which was developed to help people look after their wellbeing, with tips for what to do in an immediate mental health crisis (red), when you need extra support (orange), and keeping well (green).
- A monthly email newsletter and a Facebook page which was established to help share news, programmes and opportunities to connect communities.
- Regional co-ordination and promotion of the national annual Mental Health Awareness Week.
- Launched a Connecting Communities microfund (max $1,000 per applicant) in November 2021. The fund runs 3 times a year and is designed to support community-led activities and events across Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell, and Te Anau/Fiordland which encourage people to find ways to connect, look after themselves and each other, and have some fun. So far, more than $410,000 has been injected into communities across the Southern Lakes region for mental wellbeing activities or events. Read more and view the funding recipients here.
- Funding partnership with Te Pou to develop the innovative international Mental Health First Aid training programme for NZ use. The programme is focused on supporting youth aged 11-18 and will be piloted in the Southern Lakes region. It will then be rolled out across New Zealand.
- Partnered with the Southern Wellbeing Trust (now Headlight Trust) to run 6 GoodYarn workshops for small businesses in Queenstown and Wānaka in autumn 2022. These are free peer-to-peer mental health workshops which provide a unique opportunity for local businesses to help their leaders and staff talk about what mental health is and how to look after your mental health, how to talk to someone if you are concerned about their mental health, the signs and symptoms of mental stress and distress, and information about where to go for support. More information here.
- Responded to emerging community challenges such as staff shortages, increased living costs and separation from family support networks which impacted on mental wellbeing. Funding was provided to the Headlight Trust to run 15 additional GoodYarn workshops across Queenstown between October 2022 and June 2023, in addition to the 6 workshops already completed. Prioritised participants included the 'carers’ (social agencies, NGOs and volunteers working frontline with people under increased stress) and small businesses, particularly those in regular contact with people under pressure. These included professional services, hairdressers, accountants, physios and allied health with under 50 staff.
- Partnered with the Otago Regional Business Partner Network to provide wellbeing support and mentoring to its Regional Business Advisors in Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago region. Prevention and support is key when looking at economic and wellbeing recovery within a community. Advisors and those who are helping others who are stressed and distressed (Caring for the Carers) will benefit from professional wellbeing support and mentoring. Professional wellbeing support and mentoring is provided by a trained and registered counsellor who is giving business advisors the tools to better support their clients and their own wellbeing.
- Partnered with the Otago Regional Business Partner Network to provide targeted wellbeing communications through their networks and channels for businesses across the Queenstown, Cromwell, Wānaka and Te Anau communities.
- Partnered with industry groups on business-focussed wellbeing initiatives, including the Queenstown Business Chamber of Commerce Housing Information Series, and the Southland Chamber of Commerce Wellbeing Breakfast to introduce the First Steps nationwide business wellbeing programme.
- Supported a Summerdaze programme coordinator role in 2021, 2022 and 2023 as well as an online event platform to run specific events across Queenstown, Central and Fiordland during the summer season. The aim was to engage communities and bring them together, with an overall focus of improving wellbeing.
- Boosted Queenstown Lakes District Council’s new Get Active community grant to enable more local organisations to support health and wellbeing in the community.
- Following on from the popular Easter 2022 Picnic at Home initiative for seniors in Queenstown, funding was also provided to run a Mid-Winter Christmas in Cromwell and a Matariki Picnic at Home in Fiordland. Both were extremely well received.
- Co-ordinated and funded the monthly Whakatipu Seniors Gig Guide in Mountain Scene newspaper from October 2022. A more detailed version, including activity descriptions and contact details, is then sent to key organisations each month to print and distribute by email. The initiative aims to encourage the Whakatipu's senior community to get involved in activities that help improve their mental and physical wellbeing.
Based on the success of the Whakatipu Gig Guide, a Fiordland Seniors Gig Guide was launched in July 2023.
- Funding for the Reconnecting Seniors Network to increase social connection and mental wellbeing support for senior residents in the Upper Clutha. The 2-year programme supports active ageing, social participation and healthy lifestyles, and encourages seniors to feel connected and involved in their local community.
Funding to expand a targeted programme to improve the mental wellbeing of Whakatipu school children aged 11 and 12. ‘iFLY Whakamana’ helps address the increased anxiety, lack of confidence, and associated behaviours affecting the school community and has had outstanding results so far.
Funding to Southland District Council Libraries to develop a StoryWalk® at the Te Anau Memorial Gardens. The StoryWalk was launched at a Community Open Day on 19 November 2022.
- Funding for the free Light Up Winter festival in Cromwell in 2022 to help bring people together and boost community wellbeing.
- Funding and operational support to run a free Loss and Grief Education Day for regional healthcare and social service providers on 12 October 2022.
Operational and promotional support for the Blue Stories Project and exhibition at Frankton Library showcasing portraits and inspiring stories of locals and how they found their way through and out of perinatal depression. The library will also offer Support Sessions to help people connect with the Central Lakes Family Services team, each other and the support services available.
Funding to Te Anau Waitangi Charitable Trust for a cross-organisational collaboration, “Matariki in Fiordland” in July 2023. The celebration offered a variety of wellbeing projects to encourage the Fiordland community to come together to celebrate Matariki. Specific wellbeing projects were run for children, youth and the elderly and there were multiple opportunities for whānau as a whole to connect.
Funding for the Fiordland Climbing Wall group in May 2023 to undertake routesetting training to support the long term sustainability of the local climbing wall as an ongoing place of challenge, engagement and wellbeing for the community.
Funding for Fiordland Community Garden Charitable Trust in June 2023 to further to further develop the garden as a welcoming space to receive people seeking somewhere to connect. They will also reach out to vulnerable groups.
With little local wellbeing research available, the group has been working to establish additional datasets to help measure the ongoing wellbeing of communities across the Southern Lakes region. This has included:
- A specific set of questions for the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s annual Quality of Life Survey since 2022
- Developing and trialling the WHO-5, a quarterly one-minute ‘mood check’ survey. The WHO-5 was a joint initiative developed by Te Hau Toka and Te Whatu Ora Southern’s public health unit, Public Health South. It is based on the five-item World Health Organisation WellBeing Index (WHO-5), an internationally recognised, widely used tool for assessing mental wellbeing. The survey ran in December 2021 and was open to all Queenstown Lakes, Central and Fiordland residents aged 9 and over. Unfortunately the number of respondents and their demographics meant that the group was unable to draw enough conclusions from the data to apply them in a meaningful way to enhance community wellbeing.
- Te Hau Toka worked with independent evaluation specialist Dr Delwyn Goodrick to develop a long-term evaluation framework to help guide decision-making and funding. Dr Goodrick is also completing an independent evaluation of Te Hau Toka's overall programme of work.