About our podcast guests, Ngā Manukura

21 December 2021

We are grateful to have three Ngā Manukura leaders from Nōku te Ao and the mental health community joins us as part of our first podcast.

Jason Haitana

Jason Haitana is a published poet and well known lived experience activist and advocate.

Currently, he is co-chair for the National Association for Mental Health Services Consumer Advisors (NAMHSCA). He is also a Consumer and Family Leader, Mental Health & Addictions at the Northland District Health Board.

In the past Jason has been heavily involved with Te Kete Pounamu, a Nōku te Ao partner, and he is presently lending his skills as a board member for Changing Minds.

We are privileged to have Jason join our podcast panel to discuss the Manawa Ora tikanga resource.

Jason brings many insights into the art of storytelling and discusses deeper issues around intersectionality and the impacts of intergenerational trauma and colonisation.

Jason Haitana Jason Haitana

Matua Guy Baker

Matua Guy Baker is a well-known advocate and professional in the mental health sector.

He holds several pivotal roles: co-chair of Ngā Hau e Whā, a Ministry of Health-funded mental health consumer advisory group, co-chair of Nga Kōpara o te Rito: Midlands Consumer/Whānau Leadership, and Consumer Lead for Te Waharoa, an innovative service of Te Kupenga Net Trust, re-shaping the way community services respond to whānau Maori in distress.

Ngā Hau e Whā, in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation and Hāpai te Hauora, is tasked with delivering a range of social movement activities for Nōku te Ao.

Advocacy and support are two things Matua Guy does naturally. As the eldest on both sides of his whānau, he was thrust into leadership roles early and raised to be the strongest pou in the whare, infallible to outside forces.

Like most, Matua Guy's introduction to the mental health system was unexpected and largely unwanted.

In 2011, while in the final year of his Bachelor degree, Guy was diagnosed with severe depression. But he did not tell anyone, not even his whānau.  His silence highlights the complexity of whānau roles and the impact gender expectations and stigmatising societal messages about mental health can have on individuals.

Despite these challenges, Guy graduated with the valedictorian award.  But his degree signifies so much more than an educational tohu; it marks the beginning of a much bigger journey of self-discovery, recovery, advocacy and growth.

Matua Guy knows first-hand the power storytelling has.

"The more I began to tell my story the more of a healing it was for me. I went from a place of being afraid to tell my story to actually finding it to be a healing process for me to be able to share it with others."

He also witnessed how his story permitted people to share their own so they too could begin to receive the support they needed.

Since then, Matua Guy has used every opportunity to share his recovery story so that those who are yet to make this journey will feel inspired, hopeful and less alone.

For whānau new to sharing their story, Matua Guy recommends utilising the Manawa Ora resource as a way to help shape your story-sharing experience. 

“I do believe there should be a collective tikanga around storytelling. Mainly, to make you feel comfortable in the space that you are in to be able to truly tell your story. Rather than being unsafe and not really giving value to your story, because it is your story and no one else's. So we need to create spaces where we can give honouring to our stories."

Matua guy baker Matua guy baker

Gina Giordani

Gina Giordani is a Community Engagement and Health Promotion Officer for The Mental Health Foundations Pūtea Hāpori Community Grants. She worked specifically with communities, individuals, iwi, and Pacific and creative organisations to produce community campaigns and resources that reduce prejudice and discrimination against New Zealanders experiencing mental distress or mental health diagnoses.

Most recently, Gina has become the new programme lead for the Nōku te Ao social movement, a joint project between; The Mental Health Foundation, Ngā Hau e Whā, and Hāpai te Hauora. When you meet her, Gina comes across as humble and quite quiet, but after speaking to her, it’s clear she’s a mighty force to be reckoned with.

Over the past 20 years, Gina has garnered a wealth of lived experience knowledge. She was just nineteen years of age when she entered the mental health system and has valuable insights into navigating mental health services as a rangatahi Māori. 

Thankfully, when Gina went through the system, she had the Like Minds, Like Mine campaign on TV and radio. People like Mahinārangi Toker were thriving and greeting the world with their lived experience. 

“I could see people on the TV in the ads saying I have a mental illness and it’s okay. When I went through the system I was pushed out into the community... I wasn’t locked up for years on end… I was really encouraged to get back out and have a life and seek lots of support and other forms of treatment.”

Hearing other peoples recovery stories has helped Gina to shape her own story. However, a lot of her hard-won wisdom around tikanga was through trial and error. 

Gina believes the Manawa Ora tikanga resource will help prepare storytellers to tune in to themselves and consider their tikanga and the tikanga of the wider collective.

"It's really important to think about what your tikanga is. What are the processes and best practice ideas you are going to use to make yourself safe, and make others safe, and guide you through what can be quite a tricky process?" 

Tapping into existing peer support and peer networks is something Gina loves about Manawa Ora. 

"I love the way that it speaks to collectivity. Often we are out there doing this thing on our own and we're not debriefing in the way that we should... I like the way that Manawa Ora makes us consider the collectivity of those support networks. Are there other people with lived experience in your workplace that you can lean on? Are there other people in the sector that you are connected to that you can debrief with?"

It will be exciting over the next months to see Gina breathe life into her new role as project lead for the social movement of Nōku te Ao.

Gina Giordani Gina Giordani