Mental Health, Addiction and Intellectual Disability 
1 December 2022

An update from the Executive Director

Kia ora e te whānau,

I’m delighted to share the news that Comcare Trust has been appointed as the new service provider for people currently residing in Ward 11 at Wakari Hospital, and other inpatient services. This new service will provide flexible and tailored intensive community support options and housing services which will enable people move out of hospital into their own home. I’m so very pleased for Southern whaiora and whānau that there are going to be increased housing and support options available for people experiencing serious or complex mental distress. Read more about the announcement below.
There’s more good news this week about a $52k boost for Southern Lakes mental wellbeing initiatives this summer, and I was interviewed last week on Otago Access Radio about the Te Hurihanga – Time for Change Programme. If you want a quick update a link to the podcast is below.
Read about:

Contemporary community care available closer to home for Wakari Hospital Ward 11 patients as new provider is announced

The announcement of  Comcare Trust as the new service provider of intensive community support services in the Southern district is a major milestone in addressing gaps in provision of contemporary community services as identified in the national mental health inquiry, He Ara Oranga, and the 2021 Southern Time for Change - Te Hurihanga review.

Comcare Trust are an experienced housing and support service based in Christchurch that specialise in supporting people with complex mental health and addiction needs. They have been supporting people to live well for over 35 years. 

The new service meets an area of need identified through the 2021 Time for Change - Te Hurihanga review. The review highlighted the need for Te Whatu Ora Southern to develop an alternative, more fit-for-purpose environment than that provided by Ward 11 for people who need complex mental health and intellectual disability care.

The service will provide contemporary intensive community support with individualised plans for patients to enable them to live their best quality of life and is great news for patients and whanau. 

We will not be rushing the process. It will take some time to set up the service with the first patients transitioning into the new service expected in April 2023, and the transition of all patients anticipated to take up to 18 months to complete.  

Read more in the media release here
Read the FAQs here

$52K boost for Southern Lakes mental wellbeing initiatives this summer 

Photo above: Kahu Youth Trust rangatahi
An extra $52,000 is being invested in initiatives to improve mental wellbeing across Southern Lakes and Fiordland communities this summer. Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group was set up in direct response to community-wide mental health impacts being seen as a result of COVID 19. 
The group, including Southern DHB, WellSouth Primary Health Network, Queenstown Lakes District Council, and Central Lakes Family Services, was formed in June 2020 and in 2021 was expanded to incorporate Fiordland.
On 1 July 2021, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment provided funding to support mental wellbeing in Southern communities worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and Te Hau Toka Southern Wellbeing Group was asked to administer this.  

One initiative for funding developed by Te Hau Toka is “Connecting Communities”. Submissions are invited from community groups for funding up to $1,000 for events or activities that 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.  Te Hau Toka have just completed Round 4, and there are two more rounds to go.

In Round 4, Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group has supported 54 groups via its latest Connecting Communities funding round, with each receiving up to $1,000 to help facilitate community-led activities.  

Recipients included the Fiordland Community Kai volunteering initiative, Age Concern’s brain health seminar for over 65s, Cromwell Community House Christmas BBQ for vulnerable older residents, LUMA wellbeing workshops for schools, Happiness House gardening group materials, MINT Trust’s music therapy workshop for Central Otago people with intellectual disabilities, and Head Light Trust’s ‘Let's Chalk about Mental Health Queenstown’ project, as well as various cultural get-togethers and community Christmas events.  A full list is available online.

The next Connecting Communities funding round is 20 February to 2 March 2023. Eligible not-for-profit groups can apply for up to $1,000 including GST to support community-focused mental wellbeing initiatives. 
For more details about the fund or other Te Hau Toka initiatives, visit
Read the media release here.

Listen to an update about the Te Hurihanga - Time for Change Programme

I was pleased to be able to provide an update about the great work that’s been happening, and what’s coming up on the Te Hurihanga – Time for Change programme last week on the Te Whatu Ora Southern Health slot on Otago Access Radio. You can listen to the seven minute podcast here.

An overview of Te Pae Tata - interim New Zealand Health Plan 

A milestone for New Zealand health reforms was the official release at the end of October of Te Pae Tata | interim New Zealand Health Plan.

Te Pae Tata has been developed to outline what we will do differently over the next two years to build the foundations of a sustainable and affordable, unified health system to better serve our communities.

This also includes support for, and encouragement of, greater growth in our healthcare workforce, addressing the current inequities, and improving health outcomes for all New Zealanders, but particularly Māori, Pacific people and Tāngata whaikaha | Disabled people.

Over the next two years you will see a focus on:
  • Developing better equity of health outcomes to deliver on improving pae ora for Māori, Pacific people, and Tāngata whaikaha | disabled people
  • Pae ora – Better health and wellbeing in our communities
  • Kahu Taurima – Maternity and the early years
  • Mate pukupuku – People living with cancer
  • Māuiuitanga taumaha – People living with chronic health conditions
  • Oranga hinengaro – People living with mental distress, illness and addiction
Read more about Te Pae Tata and the plan here

As an interim, two-year plan, Te Pae Tata is focused on ensuring the health system continues provide care to New Zealanders, while we start to implement the improvements in the way services are delivered and work toward the first full New Zealand Health Plan.

The development of the first full plan, for 2024-2027, will begin shortly, and be comprehensive and widely consulted with communities.

More information about Te Pae Tata is available on our Te Whatu Ora – Southern SharePoint page.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about Te Pae Tata | interim New Zealand Health Plan, please get in touch with us at

Ngā mihi nui,


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