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Bringing Addiction sector leaders together in Ōtautahi

  • Publication Date:

    28 November 2022

  • Author:

    Caitlin Dixon

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The final Addiction Leadership Day for 2022 was brought to Ōtautahi Christchurch where more than 100 people attended.

Hosted by the National Committee for Addiction Treatment (NCAT), these events bring together leaders from across the addiction sector to connect and share latest updates.

Attendees arrived from from Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health, Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand commissioning and service providers, Te Aka Whai Ora, kaupapa Māori services, NGOs, research centres and workforce development centres.

The day commenced with mihi whakatau, followed by a welcome from the NCAT Co-Chair and one of the MCs for the day, Deb Fraser-Komene, director of Whakaata Tohu Tohu | Mirror Services.

Deb acknowledged the theme for the day, ‘E tū kaha tahi tātou: standing strong together’ and the significance of this for addiction services.

An opening address and update was provided by Lucinda Cassin, Clinical Director – Oranga Hinengaro at Te Aka Whai Ora, about some of the work planned and already underway within Te Aka Whai Ora.

Lucinda spoke to the importance of uplifting lived experience and whānau voice, including the appointment of a director of lived experience within Te Aka Whai Ora. Dean Rangihuna, Principal Advisor - Lived Experience with Te Aka Whai Ora echoed this in his kōrero as he spoke about his own experiences and acknowledged the past and current leaders in this space.

Peter Carter, Interim Director – Addiction with Te Whatu Ora provided an update and acknowledged the significance of the creation of his new role within Te Whatu Ora commissioning. Hannah Whittaker-Komatsu, Principal Advisor – Lived Experience with Manatū Hauora, spoke to how lived experience shapes the work of Manatū Hauora.

Former NCAT member Terry Huriwai spoke to the transformational change underway within Ara Poutama towards whānau and oranga focused health services, and the importance of connecting to the addictions sector as part of this.

Jason George, National Harm Reduction Lead with the New Zealand Needle Exchange Programme, spoke to some of the innovative harm reduction initiatives that are taking place overseas, and what the future could look like for Aotearoa.

An update was also provided by NCAT, about their vision for the future of the addiction sector and priorities, as shaped by the sector at both the previous Addiction Leadership Day and September’s Cutting Edge conference.

Further updates were provided by Kelly Pope, Principal Advisor – Lived Experience at Te Hiringa Mahara / the Mental Wellbeing Commission, and Ben Birks-Ang, Deputy Executive Director of New Zealand Drug Foundation.

A panel focused on consumer, peer support and lived experience (CPSLE) training pathways for the addiction sector was facilitated by Rhonda Robertson, Principal Advisor - Lived Experience & Peer Project Lead (Addiction) at Te Pou. The panel included Dave Burnside, Learning & Development Lead at Odyssey, Romy Lee, Youth Advisory/Peer Workforce Development Lead at Whāraurau and Jason Haitana, Lived Experience Maori Senior Lecturer at Auckland University of Technology, who all spoke to their work developing training pathways, and the value of CPSLE roles within the workforce.

The afternoon continued with brief updates from the Addiction Consumer Leadership group, Te Pou, Whāraurau on Supporting Parents Healthy Children and dapaanz, which announced that Cutting Edge Conference has now been scheduled for November 2023.

Closing remarks were provided from the MCs, Deb and Marc Beecroft, NCAT Co-Chair and Odyssey Christchurch, who acknowledged the dynamic speakers throughout the day.

“It is great to see everyone come together, this was reflected in the essence of the day ‘E tū kaha tahi tātou: standing strong together’, together we can achieve so much more than we can alone. There are a number of exciting developments happening in our sector and it was great to hear about all of these, with a special spotlight on Lived Experience woven into the programme throughout the day," Deb said.

The next Addiction Leadership Day will take place in early 2023. To be kept updated on future Addiction Leadership Days and other news relevant to the addiction sector, you can sign up to the email list here.

Addiction Leadership Day Christchurch 2022
Attendees from Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health, with speakers Peter Carter and Dean Rangihuna.

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