16th Reintegration Puzzle Conference

Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
1-3 June 2022

Changing Seasons,
Changing Lives

Te Ngahere: A prison-based addiction and recovery programme which draws on Māori ancestral connection to the land, its seasons and its ecosystem.

Odyssey supports more than 4000 tāngata whai ora (people seeking wellness) each year in a wide range of settings. We have been the lead provider of New Zealand’s first Alcohol and other Drug Treatment Court, and we run drug treatment programmes in a number of custodial settings. We are committing to honouring the Treaty of Waitangi in our work and we have a well-established Mātūtū (recovery) programme that supports cultural reconnection within our adult services.
This presentation outlines an eight-week programme called Te Ngahere that was recently introduced in four New Zealand Corrections Facilities, informed by Te Ao Māori (Māori world view) and clinical best practice. Te Ngahere can be translated as the forest, but also suggests ‘many connections, many ties’. For Māori, the forest is a collective, living organism; from its life force comes its mana and its value. Te Ngahere draws on the Māori Maramataka (lunar calendar) and Takiwā (seasons) – with an emphasis on connection as the root of wellbeing.
Māori trace their genealogy back to the land itself and so the programme echoes the changing of the seasons with a view to restoring natural cycles found in pepeha (identity), marae (place) and whānau (family), thereby restoring wellbeing and revealing individual potential.
This presentation aims to give some insight into the design and implementation process, as well as some of the challenges we have encountered during the early implementation phase. We will also discuss how its principles will be translated into the release/ reintegration phase during aftercare.


Ed Kitchin
Project Manager - Clinical Programmes
, Odyssey House NZ

Ed has over 13 years’ experience operating alcohol and other drug (AOD) services within correctional settings; initially working in the UK on the innovative Drug Intervention Programme (DIP) which directed adult offenders into drug treatment. Moving to New Zealand in 2010, he has worked in Drug Treatment Programmes in prisons and subsequently managed a portfolio of youth programmes with a strong emphasis on Youth Justice. Ed joined Odyssey in 2016 to oversee Odyssey programme implementation at Corrections sites, both inside and outside 'the wire'. Since that time Ed has co-developed and introduced a large range of interventions in this space such as the lighter touch SBIRT for the remand population (Screening and Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment), involvement in the national Aftercare Practitioner roll-out as well as co-designing more intensive interventions such as the six-month therapeutic community model for sentenced prisoners. Ed is passionate about challenging stigma, healing identity and developing authentic connection.

Mary Nathan
Advanced Practitioner - Te Ngahere
, Odyssey House NZ

Mary Nathan has over 20 years’ experience delivering indigenous theory to practice [kaupapa Maori] in both formal and informal settings, where the participants have ranged from whanau [families] to social work degree students and most recently, women in prison. In her role as facilitator, Mary covers the cultural content delivery alongside and in partnership with the clinical [Alcohol and other Drugs-AOD] content delivery. This dual partnership echoes Mary’s lifelong philosophy, that indigenous knowledge has a place alongside other knowledges in the contribution to the wellbeing of tangata whenua [people of the land]. Mary took this philosophy as a focus of her master’s thesis and is continuing this in her ongoing work.

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