CMM has just finished recruiting all workers (kaimahi) and team leader (kaiarahi) to Mana Ake, the new well-being scheme being rolled out to all Canterbury schools.

A primary school pupil comes home one day complaining of being bullied. She is scared and lonely and her sense of self-esteem is at rock bottom. When her mother wants her to talk about her feelings, the school requests the help of Mana Ake (Stronger for Tomorrow), the new health and well-being scheme being introduced to all Canterbury primary and intermediate schools.

CMM kaimahi, Izzy Horton, a social worker by profession, sat with the girl every Thursday for three months and discussed her worries and feelings. “We talked about what she could we do when she had those big feelings. We opened the door to talking about them and teased out her sense of self-worth and built up her self-esteem.” Over time, mum said she became herself, felt more at ease and more relaxed.

In total, 80 Mana Ake kaimahi or well-being workers have been employed by 13 local NGOs, all of which work collaboratively. CMM has just finished recruiting all 11 of its kaimahi and one kaiarahi, the team leader of the group clusters. The objective is to support a system where whānau, schools and communities work together to promote wellbeing, so that children thrive, and are engaged and learning at school.

CMM Mana Ake team leader Anna Pope says the new scheme is exciting, well-funded and well-supported. “We’ve now got 80 more pairs of eyes on children in the community – the expertise and support of many more people than we would have had otherwise. I think Mana Ake could result in lasting change in our community and has the potential to become a nationwide scheme.”

The CMM children’s programme Wise Up will be available to all schools and selected kaimahi are currently being trained in this programme.

Schools have praised the scheme. One described CMM Mana Ake kaimahi Julie Best as being warm and empathetic, particularly in the wake of a serious incident at the school. “This community and Mana Ake is very grateful and fortunate to have her working in our community.” Another cluster of schools said the role of Mana Ake on March 15 had been “unbelievable”. “It has ensured we have been able to support our school communities in so many ways."

Izzy Horton says, "The children build a connection with you and they value you being there. You're a third person to talk and connect with and ensure they're getting the right services." 

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CMM Mana Ake kaimahi (front row): Eve Penny, Jo Fabian, Izzy Horton, Becky Watson, Greta Spearing, Dylan Walls; (back row): Alisha Keith, Anna Pope (team leader), Julie Best, Anna Dawson
Absent: Jonathan Crosby, Hannah Williams-Blakey, Malcolm Gooch (kaiarahi)