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Whāriki, the network for leaders, one year on

A deep aspiration to drive change

It is hard to believe that a year ago, Te Whāriki o te Ara Oranga didn’t officially exist. It was a small collection of committed people with deep aspiration to drive change, an ambitious strategy and unswerving belief that great leadership and innovation existed in mental health and addiction services.

As we head towards the start of 2022, it is nine months since the network for innovators, influencers and leaders in mental health and addiction services launched with the purpose of sharing great examples of transformation. Today, membership sits at more than 800 people driving on-the-ground change for tāngata whai ora, whānau and hapori.

In March 2021, Health Minister Andrew Little formally launched the network in front of a diverse audience of more than 300 sector representatives gathered for the national leadership event Te Ara Tūpuna Rangatira - Celebrating Leadership - Courageous and Bold. Funded by the Ministry of Health, Whāriki is run by a small team operating from Te Pou.

The purpose of Whāriki is to connect people to exchange ideas and examples of great mahi; members inspiring and learning from each other and taking what is working and adapting it for their communities.

Establishing a knowledge sharing network dedicated to supporting leaders improve wellbeing through a strong mental health system has had more momentum and been more inspiring than we even imagined! We knew innovation was happening and successful examples of change were out there, but hearing your stories of what is working for tāngata whai ora, whānau and communities and sharing them so solutions can be passed on across Aotearoa has been an eye-opening privilege. In that time, we have had more than a thousand registrations for Whāriki He Aka Hui – free lunchtime sessions for leaders to learn from each other, and shared more than 40 inspiring initiatives alongside 60 practical resources.

We are humbled to act as katiaki for your stories of change and provide a place for you to join a national conversation on action and leadership in mental wellbeing and addiction services. We deeply appreciate your commitment to drive transformation and look forward to bringing you more connections, events and resources to improve mental wellbeing services in 2022.

Join Whāriki here