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Mental health training for success
©Te Rau Matatini

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Massey University has celebrated the success of a programme that has helped more than 400 Maori gain qualification as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and mental health workers over the past 20 years.

Te Rau Puawai pioneered a new approach to learning support built around active outreach to extramural students with expert tutoring, twice-yearly hui, course advice, regular telephone counselling and created a wide network of graduates in the mental health sector to offer ongoing support.

It has a pass rate of 95 percent and has served as a model for other workplace development schemes such as Te Rau Matatini, which it now comes under.

Te Rau Matatini head Maria Baker says it gives its graduates a solid ground to work in more than mental health and addiction services.

"With that type of background many of us have been able to work with our iwi, many of us have been able to work in non-government organisations, also in government leadership roles. More of us are working in education and Maori development spaces so it has really provided an opportunity to extend and broaden what it might mean to be a Maori mental health professional," she says.

Many Te Rau Puawai graduates were the first in their family to go to university, and their example encouraged others in the whanau into tertiary education.

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