Repealing and replacing the Mental Health Act | an update on He Karanga

09 March 2022

Nōku te Ao successfully launched our position statement on the Mental Health Act.

The current Mental Health Act has been a barrier for the full and effective of participation Tangata Whaiora in society, and on an equal basis with others.

Dehumanising practises enshrined in the current Act reflect a systemic failure to provide compassionate, healing, and therapeutic responses to the mental health needs of Aotearoa. Changing the legislation is a powerful tool to changing this system.

He Karanga was jointly developed by the Nōku te Ao partners and elevated lived experience and Māori voices at the forefront. He Karanga included 16 specific recommendations for what needs changing in any mental health legislation. These recommendations include honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi by explicitly naming and challenging institutional racism in the legislation, and a clear pathway and timeline for ending compulsory mental health treatment (including physical and chemical restraint, and overmedication).

Nōku te Ao launched He Karanga to influence the Ministry of Health’s consultation process. We asked for your help through email and social media and you loved it. It was exciting seeing the campaign gain momentum. Facebook posts like this went viral and showed a huge groundswell of support. Almost 1000 tangata used their voice to support Nōku te Ao and call for change. Of people who told us their ethnicity, almost half were Māori and Pasifika.

He Karanga is the first step in an ongoing kōrero about changing mental health legislation for Nōku te Ao. We look forward to taking the next steps towards ending the legal discrimination and upholding human rights with Tangata Whaiora. You will be hearing more from us in this space!