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Future Of Counselling Services For Rural Māori Secured In South Otago

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has stepped in to fund counselling services for rural Māori with addiction and mental health issues in South Otago.

MPI is providing Māori health and social service provider Tokomairiro Waiora with almost $54,000 to secure the future of the programme until April 2022.

“These counselling workshops provide participants, and their whānau and hapū, with tools and support to help improve their wellbeing and resilience,” says MPI’s director of Māori Agribusiness Andrew McConnell.

“Our financial support will enable this service to continue in the short-term while the organisation investigates long-term funding.”

The funding will also be used to run health workshops in Milton and Lawrence for shearers and their whānau, and to facilitate three wānanga to encourage rangatahi into careers in the primary sector.

The wānanga will include on-farm experience and learning.

“The wānanga will focus on shearing, which is a big employer in the area. We hope it will help address the current shortage of shearers. Careers in agriculture and forestry will also be promoted,” says Tokomairiro Waiora Incorporated manager Jo Kingi.

“The wānanga will also offer wellbeing support, and meditation, budgeting, literacy and life skills. Some rangatahi in the sector struggle due to mental health issues and poor life choices outside of work.”

It is hoped at least 20 young people will attend each wānanga in April, May and July.

Funding for the new initiative was provided in Budget 2020. MPI was allocated $1.1 million over three years to deliver extra wellbeing and support services to complement those provided by Rural Support Trusts.

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