by Josie Williamson

Topia and Jessica close off the National Training Event via Microsoft TeamsLast week 200 of our psychologists and 40 other participants both from Ara Poutama Aotearoa and external agencies attended a two day virtual training event hosted from National Office.

Of the attendees, 14 were in National Office and the rest were able to connect online via Microsoft Teams. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Humanising and Healing’, one of the key principles of Hōkai Rangi.

“We chose this theme to mirror the approach that we saw from all of the psychology teams as they worked through the COVID-19 lockdown,” says Chief Psychologist Jessica Borg.

Jessica Borg and DCE Māori Topia Rameka opened the event and were followed by keynote speaker Professor of Māori Research at University of Canterbury Dr Angus MacFarlane. He spoke to the group about “He Awa Whiria” also known as the ‘Braided Rivers Approach’ that he developed with his colleagues and shared insights from his research.

“The Braided Rivers Approach is particularly relevant to our psychologists as our vision is to design rehabilitation, train our staff and guide projects in a way that elevates the Te Ao Māori worldview into a bonafide bicultural practice,” says Jessica.

Several other guest speakers were part of the event including two international experts. Dr Jill Levenson tuned in from Florida. She shared a presentation with the group titled, ‘Translating Trauma Informed Care Principles into Practice’ about how clinicians can apply trauma-informed responses in clinical, forensic, and correctional settings.

Dr Kate Hamilton also joined from Canada, talking to the attendees about ‘Best Practices in the Management of Child Sexual Exploitation Material Offenders’. She spoke about recent dramatic increases in online sexual offending and the need for an internationally coordinated response.

Topia Rameka closed off the event after a positive two days of learning, sharing and connecting.

“Our psychologists play a critical role in the rehabilitation of men and women both in our care and management,” says Topia.

“I was proud to see their passion and commitment to their roles shining through over the last two days.”

National Training Forum for Programme Facilitators

A similar event will be held virtually for our Programme Facilitators. The National Training Forum had elements that were pre-recorded as well as workshops, which will be presented regionally.

The theme is ‘Mauri Ora: Taking a humanising and healing approach to rehabilitation through holistic and responsive practice’.

“The kaupapa of this year’s event is to stimulate learning and discussions on aligning our current delivery of programmes with Hōkai Rangi,” says Jessica.

Professor in Indigenous Studies and Co-Head at Wānanga o Waipapa, Faculty of Arts University of Auckland Professor Tracey McIntosh was the keynote speaker for the event. She inspired the team to be a transformative agent of change and to focus on the possibilities and the contexts of change which ‘make the aspirational possible.’

The forum will also include workshops that cover training on the new LS/CMI tool, Bi-cultural Supervision, and an introduction to Mental Health, Risk and Māori Trauma Informed Practice.

“It was great that we are still able to hold these two events this year, albeit remotely, and that so many are able to attend. It’s important for our psychologists and programme facilitators to be able to connect and upskill as we work towards aligning our practice to what Hōkai Rangi asks of us,” says Jessica.