Mental Health Awareness Week Profile: Te Waharoa

“It’s like walking onto a marae - you are always welcomed” 


Norma Stewart - Kaimahi at Te Waharoa

From the outside, it’s not obvious that Te Waharoa is the gateway for our whānau in Te Tairawhiti to access support when they are in distress. The beautiful whare looks like an art gallery from the outside, with natural light shining on the mahi toi, sourced by a local artist, housed inside. Couches are positioned around the whare to invite the community in for a koreor, whanaungatanga and a comfortable space to enjoy.

It’s peaceful and warm. The art provides a sense of comfort. The art provides a sense of comfort

Te Waharoa, located at 26 Peel Street, is a welcoming point for whānau in distress needing guidance to access the right mental health support and awhi. Te Waharoa has an open-door policy - any whānau in distress who need awhi can come in. No appointment or referrals are necessary.

“It’s as simple as walking through the doors, coming to the front desk, and letting our team know that you need to talk to someone” - says Norma Stewart - Pou āwhina, pūmanawa tangata me ngā tūhononga.

“We understand that asking for help can be difficult and that whānau are very vulnerable when sharing the challenges that they are facing.”

“We have two Mataora (agent of change, trained individual in supporting whānau in distress) in Matataki with whānau to ensure that whānau voices are heard and all details are captured.”

"From there whānau will be booked in for wananga with a Ue (small group of Mataora.) From that first wananga onwards, that same Ue will walk alongside our whānau through their journey. If our Mataora feels that another service within Te Tairwhiti specialise in a matter that our whānau have shared, then with the whānau permission we will put a tono out to those services to come in and wananga with us and the whanau - such as Tauawhi, Te Rito or Tawhiri. Together with those services, our Mataora will ensure that whānau receive the best support.”

Norma wants to stress that any whānau who walk through our doors will feel the awhi and aroha through the whole process. “We will be with you the whole time; you don’t need to do this alone” she says.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with mental health, there are many services available for our community to reach out to:

  • Te Waharoa– walk in or phone 06 868 3550 – 26 Peel St - weekdays 8.30am to 4pm
  • On the coast (Anaura Bay to Potaka) - contact Ngati Porou Hauora service Te Oranga Hinengaro. Call 06 864 6803 or 021 392 772
  • Adult Community Mental Health & Addiction Services – 0800 999 014 or 06 869 2097
  • Pinnacle Health – ask your doctor for a referral
  • Need to talk? Free call or Text 1737 anytime
  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865
  • Local Tairāwhiti Mental Health crisis team - 0800 243 500
  • Sexuality or Gender Identity Helpline - OUTLine NZ – 0800 688 5463
  • Youthline – 0800 376 633
  • What's Up – 0800 942 8787 – 1pm to 10pm weekdays and 3pm to 10pm weekends
  • Anxiety Phone Line – 0800 269 4389
  • Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 – for children aged 5 to 18 years from 4pm to 9pm on weekdays


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