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CareNZ Manaaki Aotearoa

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    CareNZ supports anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s use of alcohol or other drugs.

    We provide a range of services throughout the country, in both the community and prison settings. Last year we supported over 7,000 New Zealanders.

    We currently operate Community Services in Counties Manukau, the Waikato Region,  and Greater Wellington. Here you can access a variety of services, from assessment and individual counselling to group work and whanau support.

    In addition, we are operating Drug Treatment Units (DTUs) in prisons in conjunction with the Department of Corrections. These programmes offer prisoners the opportunity to address their drug and alcohol issues while serving their sentence, and offer them a pathway to sustainable life changes after their release.

    For offenders in the community or those who have been released from prison, we offer support through our Out of Gate Settlement Service and Single Point of Entry triage service.



    During an assessment session, we take a look at your use of alcohol or other drugs, and explore how other issues might be connected to it. An assessment provides an opportunity to explore with you if change is necessary and what options are suitable for you.

    If you think we can help, we will work with you on a treatment plan that fits your individual needs. We’ll coordinate your care and provide support if you need to access any other services. 

    Individual Counselling

    We provide one-to-one support and counselling for up to 12 sessions. During these sessions, we will work with you to identify the underlying issues that might play a role in your alcohol and drug use and help you develop life skills to make long-term changes.

    One-to-one sessions are also available to reinforce learnings from group work programmes, and to develop individual relapse prevention plans.

    Living Free – Intensive outpatient programme

    Living free is an abstinence based group work programme. Work with others in a group situation, exploring a range of life and social skills designed to help you ‘live free’ from the problems alcohol or other drugs are causing you.

    Topics covered in this comprehensive treatment programme include: effects of alcohol and other drugs, relapse prevention techniques, management of depression and anxiety, self-care, lifestyle balance and healthy communication.

    Contact one of our Community Services to learn more. 

    Recovery Groups

    For everyone who has stopped using alcohol or drugs, we offer abstinence based recovery support groups. Sharing experiences and hearing other people’s stories can be beneficial for maintaining abstinence.

    We also offer recovery support for those who have ceased using their drug of choice but may be at a different stage of change in relation to their other drug use.

    Recovery groups are available at our Services in South Auckland, Hutt, Greater Wellington and the Waikato Region. Please contact a service directly to learn more.

    Peer Support

    Peer Support Workers have personally experienced issues with alcohol and drug use in the past. They use their recovery experience and knowledge to help other people by providing peer support and recovery coaching.

    Peer support is currently available at CareNZ Community Services Counties Manukau.

    Youth Services

    The CareNZ Schools Youth Programme is currently available in schools across the Waikato. Our Schools Youth Team meets with students on school premises. We provide advice and information on alcohol or drugs and their effects as well as support to deal with high risk situations and peer pressure. If our counsellors think there is a need for further interventions, they will refer the young person on to other services.

    You can contact our Schools Youth Team via our Community Services in the Waikato

    Support for Whanau

    Alcohol and drug addiction not only affect the person using substances, but also their whanau and friends. We can provide help and support to those struggling with another’s use of alcohol and/or drugs.

    Whanau support and counselling is currently available in our Community Services in Counties Manukau, Wellington and the Waikato Region.
    In all our services we also work closely with KINA Trust (also part of the NSAD group) to provide whanau support.

    Impaired Driving Programmes

    Our Driving Forwards Programme is a group work programme for recidivist drink drivers. It is currently available in Manawatu, Counties Manukau and the Wairarapa. Participants are usually referred to us by the justice system.

    The programme focuses on motivating recidivist drink drivers to change their behaviour and provide strategies to do this. The course include a combination of alcohol education, information on safer driving, victim awareness and managing high risk situations.

    NZTA Assessment

    Our community services are able to offer NZTA Assessment for those who have lost their driver’s licence indefinitely following a conviction for drink driving. This is a specialist assessment to establish whether problematic use of alcohol and drugs impacts on a person’s suitability to get their licence back.

    This service is paid for by the applicant. Please contact one of our services for more information.

    Therapeutic Communities – Drug Treatment Units

    CareNZ has worked alongside the Department of Corrections in facilitating Drug Treatment Units (DTUs) across New Zealand since 1997, when the first DTU in Arohata Women’s Prison was opened.

    Alcohol or other drug use and offending are often connected. More than 50% of crime is committed by people under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and two thirds of New Zealand prisoners have substance abuse issues.

    We are currently operating Drug Treatment Units in Arohata Prison and Otago Corrections Facility.

    Drug treatment units (DTUs) are separate units, away from the mainstream prison. Operating as a therapeutic community, the DTUs provide a safe and supportive environment within the prison, in which prisoners can address underlying issues with alcohol or other drugs and develop skills for successful change. The programme is supported by the use of mentors, who themselves are graduates of the DTU programme.

    Through structured group work, social skills training and therapy groups the programme addresses factors that influence participants’ alcohol and drug use and therefore contributes to reducing offending behaviour.

    Single Point of Entry Service (Wellington/Wairarapa)

    This service supports offenders serving a community sentence, helping them to get support for problematic use of alcohol and drugs at the right time.

    Our Criminal Justice Team receives referrals from Probation Officers and meets with offenders to assess their situation and refer them on to other services to get the help they need. Our team also provides brief interventions and works with offenders to be motivated for working with other services.

    The Criminal Justice Workers meet offenders at Probation Offices across the Greater Wellington and Wairarapa region. They identify their needs, talk with them about their concerns, consider options for support and help them to make connections between their alcohol or other drug use and their offending. They continue to support them while they access the services they need, until they have been successfully engaged with other agencies. Our Team provides reports and feedback to probation staff.

    Out of Gate – Prisoner Re-integration Service

    Out of Gate is a prisoner re-integration service provided by CareNZ in the South Island (except Christchurch) and the Lower North Island i.e. Wellington, Manawatu and Wairarapa, assisting short-serving men and women released from prison to make a successful transition from prison into the community.

    We work with the men and women at Otago Correctional Facility, Invercargill Prison, Rimutaka Prison, Arohata Prison and Manawatu Prison. Our teams of Out of Gate Navigators and Social Workers are based in Dunedin, Invercargill, Nelson, Wellington, Wairarapa and Palmerston North and work with the men and women who had been sentenced to less than two years in prison following their release. Satellite and outreach services are provided to our clients released to the West Coast, Nelson and Marlborough regions. We also work in partnership in Wellington, Wairarapa and the Manawatu with Kaupapa Maori Providers, namely Te Waka Whaiora, Mana o te Tangata and Te Hauora Runanga O Wairarapa.

    Our clients are supported by Navigators/Social Workers before and after their release. They assess the needs of our clients before their release and establish a release plan, focusing on housing, employment/training, health and wellbeing as well as family, social and cultural connections. Our Navigators/Social Workers walk alongside and support our clients following their release. With over two thirds of our clients experiencing drug and alcohol dependency, Out of Gate provides an opportunity to engage with our clients at an early stage, build rapport and encourage them to access services if needed.

    CareNZ also provide a remand programme in Invercargill Prison, Otago Correctional Facility, Rimutaka Prison, Arohata Prison and Manawatu Prison.


    For most clients our treatment programmes and community support services are free – as these are paid for the by health system.