Mana Enhancing Practice Workshops: Manaaki - A Must Have

In February 2018 the new Substance Addiction Compulsory Assessment and Treatment Act 2017 will go live. One of the purposes stated in the Act is people should expect mana enhancing and protecting practice. This came about from kōrero amongst a number of those involved in the alcohol and other drug treatment sector. Two ideas informed the direction taken. The first “if you always do what you have always done you’ll always get what you always get”. The second was the realisation that many of those that present to services (and who don’t) often come with compromised and diminished sense of mana, and often compromised tapu.  In support of the Ministry of Health’s introduction of the new Act, Te Rau Matatini has developed some resources and are facilitating a mana enhancing workshop. The workshop builds on the resources developed and work undertaken as part of the Takarangi Competency Framework.


Manaaki as a competency is mana enhancing and protecting practice. The workshop introduces manaaki in the context of the Act, but it is quickly obvious that we are talking about ‘business as usual”. Participants are reminded that manaaki pervades engagement, assessment, intervention planning, intervention, continuing care as well as intervention which we know as treatment. To understand how manaaki looks in practice requires practitioners to understand what mana is.  The workshop encourages practitioners to be deliberate and mindful in their practice and supports the knowledge that mātauranga Māori adds value to what we do. Manaaki goes beyond respect and hospitality and encourages thinking about spiritual as well as physical domains as well as seeing people in a whānau, systems context rather than as individuals and capacity (the ability to make decisions about treatment) is more than just about cognitive functions.  Positive evaluations of the workshops have reinforced the hunger amongst the workforce for mātauranga Māori, the need for accountability and that integrated practice makes a difference.  To date, workshops have happened in Northland, Tai Rawhiti, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and Waikato.

Workshops in support of the Act are also scheduled for Waitematā and Lakes.  The Act and the workshops reinforce the imperative that manaaki is a must in our mahi, not a nice to have!