E tūtaki ana ngā kapua o te rangi, kei runga, kei runga te Mangoroa e kōpae pū ana | The clouds in the sky close over, but above them spreads the milky way

PADA Wānanga – Whangārei


We held our third wānanga of the year in Whangārei at Barge Showgrounds which was attended by 42 care providers who play a significant role in the lives of pregnant women and new parents and their whānau.

Thanks to funding from Foundation North, we were able to provide free registrations, which created an accessible training opportunity for all.

Our wānanga covered a variety of topics relating to perinatal mental illness caused by pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenting.

Who participated at our wānanga?


The topics were presented by local clinicians:

What was achieved by holding our wānanga?


This wānanga was one of the most interactive and fun filled day we have held so far with ‘Healing with Havening’ practices, techniques, and dancing, ‘Boost your Mauri (Life Force)’ an exercise that helps you get clear on what is the next step you can take right now to feel more energy and mauri, making a clay koauau, and, learning matau and mauri with a stick. All our attendees participated with enthusiasm and energy.

With the knowledge gained at our wānanga, care providers and voluntary groups are better prepared to support new parents and their whānau so they can be the best parents they can be. Over time these care providers will care for thousands of families and whānau throughout the Northland region. There was a diverse sector of Auckland and Northland organisations represented from Tangata Whenua, Te Whatu Ora | Health NZ, health and wellbeing providers, and voluntary organisations.

Participants came from a wide range of services including midwives, nurses, Plunket and Well Child nurses, social workers, support workers, GP’s, counsellors, psychologists, researchers, psychotherapists, mental health clinicians, and tangata whenua. As a result of attending our wānanga, the mental health literacy of care providers has been improved throughout the Northland region and they have more confidence in screening for perinatal mental illnesses leading to earlier referrals, quicker recovery time for sufferers, and better outcomes and less harm overall.

These providers are now better connected with each other as an important feature of our wānanga was that care providers had the opportunity to meet each other and to stay connected in the future. We provided an opportunity for whanaungatanga which is important as care providers from different services often don’t know each other and work in isolation.

As an accredited training provider with the Midwifery Council, our wānanga attracted 6 continuing education hours for attending midwives.

Uku and rākau in our interactive session in Whangārei, 29 March 2023

We asked what people loved about our training and they said:

“I now have a better understanding of the available services I can refer to. The challenges that the Manaaki Kakano and He Tupua Waiora service faces – so few people and little funding, in that there are so many people with mental health issues, this service must surely be more of a crisis service than a service for the needs of the population. I’m sure they make miracles happen within these constraints.”


“So much to mention, the friendliness and manner of all the presenters and facilitators.”


“Good resources, cultural support, the beautiful spirit in which the day was delivered – uplifting.”


“I loved the information about havening and trauma practices.”


“This wānanga provided some valuable resources and community linkages (for example: MIMHS, contacting the service to discuss possible referrals). This means I am less likely to question my own clinical judgement and whether this referral is needed.”


“Has increased the level of support I feel I have in my practice.”


“Brendon Smith’s presentation provided valuable insight in the involvement of fathers and the importance of inclusiveness.”


“Learning more about local services and supports.”


“Everything was dynamic, informative, inspiring and filled my tank again.”


“Extremely informative & insightful.”

What people think about PADA:

“Great workshop to educate and improve the quality of care women and pregnant persons in New Zealand are able to get appropriate support. 1) educate 2) advocate 3) connect local organisations to health workers in their communities by providing workshops”


“PADA is needed desperately given the statistics for perinatal suicide rates and the fact that this is the leading cause of death for this group of women. I think they should continue to share these messages and work with more health professionals in these workshops”

What our mahi is about:

  • A reduction in the maternal suicide rate and child abuse statistics.
  • Well-resourced and better educated care providers.
  • More culturally competent support being offered.
  • Parents being more knowledgeable about perinatal mental illness and subsequent pregnancies and babies are managed better.
  • Children having strong bonds with nurturing parents.

PADA strives to be the ‘go to’ place for training and information about perinatal anxiety and depression. There is no health without mental health and increasing awareness will drive social change with a goal toward improving the quality of care for parents experiencing all types of perinatal depression and reducing the stigma of perinatal mental illness.

We continue to contribute to research into families’ and whānau experiences of pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood and factors that may lead to mental illness. Gaining valuable data about perinatal mental health helps us understand the impact of our work and inform best practice for our organisation.

“Intervening early and getting that right is the key. That is where the money should go, that’s where the focus should be. A good childhood sets people up on a really good trajectory for life. If the mothers are better looked after the babies will benefit.”
Professor Richie Poulton, Director Dunedin Longitudinal Study.