Useful Links

Netsafe Micro Learns

A new online safety program to support New Zealand families to become aware of key safety considerations while using Meta products, with the goal of empowering New Zealanders with the digital skills they need to stay safe online.

Netsafe developed the 6 “micro learns” (taking 20 minutes or less) including some general Facebook and Instagram safety tips modules for parents and teenage users.

They also created a series on the “Metaverse.” Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are slowing making their way into mainstream usage in New Zealand education institutions and entertainment centres. Netsafe held a focus group with parents and teenagers to understand what they wanted to know about this technology, and what safeguards they wanted companies like Meta to build into them. They gave families the opportunity to try the Quest headsets – some for the first time.

The Media Literacy micro learn is another important topic for families this year. Their research in April revealed many New Zealanders don’t understand what misinformation is. Only 28% feel confident to identify misinformation. So the Netsafe education team partnered with AUT’s Dr Helen Sissons as subject matter expert to create a resource that would help families understand the changing media landscape, with many now getting their news from their social feeds.


The entire suite is available free to access here!

Convergence Information Hub

Convergence – Bay Of Plenty Consumer, Peer Support, Lived Experience Workforce Forum – have created an Information Hub, full of resources for the Mental Health and Addictions Lived Experience community.

What a wonderful resource for our whānau – check it out here!


Ko wai au? / Who am I?

Ko wai au / Who Am I? Is a resource from The Mental Health Foundation designed to help rangatahi make a personal safety plan. Head to this link to check it out!


Ia - Rainbow Research

A new e-portal collating decades of Rainbow research, launched by Auckland University of Technology (AUT) – the first collection of its type in the world.

The e-portal, called Ia, was unveiled on Wednesday 6 September at a special launch event with guest speaker Ambassador for Gender Equality (Pacific)/Tuia Tāngata, Louisa Wall. Ia will initially house more than 100 Rainbow-specific dissertations and theses, reports, books and queer themed published research journal articles. Head here to check it out!

Co-design in health: an introduction

Co-design is a tool that involves consumers, whānau and communities in the design, delivery and evaluation of health services. Co-design in health: an introduction is a free resource available through Manatū Hauora / the Ministry of Health’s Learn Online platform.

The course is open to anyone (first-time Learn Online users will need to create a login). Learners will be able to work through the course at their own pace.

To learn more, click here.

Lived Experience Library

The Lived Experience Leadership Digital Library is an initiative of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum and the National Primary Health Network Mental Health Lived Experience Engagement Network with support from Mental Health Australia.

They welcome everyone to access their Digital Library the aim of which is to gather a wealth of useful resources about all aspects of lived experience leadership. Click here to check it out!


On our website:

Click on the images to be redirected!

How to be a Mental Health Ally

A resource reproduced, with permission, from WayAhead’s AllyPack.

Mai i te pō ki te ao mārama – Bereavement Support

E kore koe e noho mokemoke ana – You are not alone.

Tautoko Directory

A list of the available supports in Taranaki.


With one of our Journal Buddies alongside you, this is a safe space to share what’s on your mind.


Read blog posts from our Rōpū – or submit your own!

How to be a Mental Health Ally

A resource reproduced, with permission, from WayAhead’s AllyPack.

Mai i te pō ki te ao mārama –

Bereavement Support

E kore koe e noho mokemoke ana – You are not alone.

Tautoko Directory

A list of the available supports in Taranaki.


With one of our Journal Buddies alongside you, this is a safe space to share what’s on your mind.


Read blog posts from our Team – or submit your own!

Information Snippets

Here you’ll find our most frequently-requested information snippets.
If you’d like something extra to be included, contact us with a topic, and we’ll be pleased to add it in.

Here are five tips as a starter-guide to building your inner-confidence. We recommend that you have a read, and then chat through with a Support Person.

1. Accepting feelings as feelings.

At the Retreat, we think about the person holistically; and understand how the sensations in our bodies are helpful signals for us. What sensations are in your chest and your belly? Are you tense, jittery, or nauseous? Ask yourself, “What sensation do I feel in my body?”

Then, try this exercise: Identify which feeling that physical sensation is connected to? (For example – butterflies in your tummy are often connected with a situation we’re anxious about). Are you angry? Sad? Glad? Scared? Some mixture of one or more of those? Once you can identify a feeling; what it’s to do with, the next step is to decide whether you accept or reject that feeling. (“When that feeling arises, I will identify it, name it, then focus my mind on a different feeling”). For example, I’ve learned that if I identify a feeling that’s connected with a burden I don’t want to carry any more, it helps me to name the feeling and then push it away. If there’s a feeling in my body connected with the beauty of the morning, for example – that spring-morning-energy – I notice it, hold onto it, and cherish it.

Having inner strength means noticing your feelings – they’re part of you and you’re amazing! Feelings aren’t bad, they just ‘are.’ Think of it this way: We learn the behaviour of bottling up feelings and censoring them. Think of a young child: When they are really sad, they cry. When they’re happy, they run around yelling with joy. They don’t worry what others think — and you shouldn’t judge your emotions, either!

2. Having Boundaries.

Once you learn how you feel, you can create boundaries — saying ‘no’ when you don’t want to do something. For Inner Confidence to grow, boundaries are essential. If you’d like to know more about this, please ask for our Recipe on Healthy Boundaries.

3. Bend With Challenges.

Life brings us challenges — sometimes unexpected, maybe painful. Because you are ‘here’ – we know that your challenges have been ‘next-level’. Can we bend with them, can we go with the flow and let ourselves move with, feel the feelings, and adapt to what’s happening without breaking?

We encourage you to take a moment to reflect on your own personal growth, and to be proud of your strength in adversity. We get stretched, maybe going beyond what we have imagined we can endure. But as we move through a challenge, (especially when we take the wise step of getting a little help along the way), we discover that we have an amazing resilience. We expand our capacities. We grow more inner strength.

4. Be Open to Learning and Asking for Help.

When someone is open to learning they are saying, “I’m not threatened that you know something I don’t, I’m curious. Tell me so I can discover that too and enrich my life. And while we’re at it, I will validate you by listening and absorbing what you know.”

When you’re stuck and don’t know how to make yourself feel better or create something in your life, can you ask for help?

Some folks feel that they need to do everything themselves. As if it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s not! But if you are good with you, you won’t have a problem reaching out and finding that person or source who can add wonderful things to your life.

5. Answer This Question: Do You exercise Self-Care?

Are you good loving friends with your body? Do you love your body as it is? Do you ask your body what food it wants to eat, what exercise feels good, and what rest does it needs? Or do you ignore what your body is telling you? Do you stay disconnected from the messages it speaks to you?

Look at how far your body has taken you up to now! And still truckin’! When we make friends with our body and appreciate it, our body responds in kind and we feel happier. This helps grow inner strength.

How about your mind? Do your thoughts race around in endless cycles of negativity? Do you hate it or can you calm your thoughts and find peace? Knowing how to relax your head, to accept that sometimes our mind needs tender loving care too, goes a long way to supporting your inner core. If you’d like to know more about this, please ask for our recipe for mindfulness.

And do you have a spiritual connection that feels awesome? Many people gain much strength from their relationship with the Universe or whatever it is that feels right to them. This is an amazing source of inner strength that helps create calm and loving and accepting you as you. If you’d like to know more about this, please ask for our blog on spiritual wellbeing.

Using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, you will purposefully take in the details of your surroundings using each of your senses. Strive to notice small details that your mind would usually tune out, such as distant sounds, or the texture of an ordinary object.

What are 5 things you can see? Look for small details such as a pattern on the ceiling, the way light reflects off a surface, or an object you never noticed.

What are 4 things you can feel? Notice the sensation of clothing on your body, the sun on your skin, or the feeling of the chair you are sitting in. Pick up an object and examine its weight, texture, and other physical qualities.

What are 3 things you can hear? Pay special attention to the sounds your mind has tuned out, such as a ticking clock, distant traffic, or trees blowing in the wind.

What are 2 things you can smell? Try to notice smells in the air around you, like an air freshener or freshly mowed grass. You may also look around for something that has a scent, such as a flower or an unlit candle.

What is 1 thing you can taste? Carry gum, candy, or small snacks for this step. Pop one in your mouth and focus your attention closely on the flavors.


Choose at least three of the categories below and name as many items as you can in each one. Spend a few minutes on each category to come up with as many items as possible. Possible categories: movies, sports teams, animals, countries, colours, cities, books, cars TV shows, cereals, fruits & vegetables, famous people.

For a variation on this activity, try naming items in a category alphabetically. For example, for the fruits & vegetables category, say “apple, banana, carrot,” and so on.

Body Awareness

The body awareness technique will bring you into the here-and-now by directing your focus to sensations in the body. Pay special attention to the physical sensations created by each step.

  1. Take 5 long, deep breaths through your nose, and exhale through puckered lips.
  2. Place both feet flat on the floor. Wiggle your toes. Curl and uncurl your toes several times. Spend a moment noticing the sensations in your feet.
  3. Stomp your feet on the ground several times. Pay attention to the sensations in your feet and legs as you make contact with the ground.
  4. Clench your hands into fists, then release the tension. Repeat this 10 times.
  5. Press your palms together. Press them harder and hold this pose for 15 seconds. Pay attention to the feeling of tension in your hands and arms.
  6. Rub your palms together briskly. Notice and sound and the feeling of warmth.
  7. Reach your hands over your head like you’re trying to reach the sky. Stretch like this for 5 seconds. Bring your arms down and let them relax at your sides.
  8. Take 5 more deep breaths and notice the feeling of calm in your body.

Mental Exercises

Use mental exercises to take your mind off uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. They are discreet and easy to use at nearly any time or place. Experiment to see which work best for you.

  • Name all the objects you see.
  • Describe the steps in performing an activity you know how to do well. For example,

how to shoot a basketball, prepare your favourite meal, or tie a knot.

  • Count backwards from 100 by 7.
  • Pick up an object and describe it in detail. Describe its colour, texture, size, weight, scent, and any other qualities you notice.
  • Spell your full name, and the names of three other people, backwards.
  • Name all your family members, their ages, and one of their favourite activities.
  • Read something backwards, letter-by-letter. Practice for at least a few minutes.
  • Think of an object and “draw” it in your mind, or in the air with your finger. Try drawing your home, a vehicle, or an animal.


One of the opportunities available to people accessing Taranaki Retreat’s Outreach Programme is to have some coaching with our Life Coach Liz. Sometimes we feel stuck, or we may be up for making some changes/moving forward, tired of talking about the past or keen for tools and strategies. These are just some of the ways Life Coaching can make a difference. One of Liz’s super powers is to listen intently and she has some great tools and a fresh approach to really help increase your awareness and understanding of where you are at and what the next chapter could look like.


The Model Deployed by Liz

Be Bold education focuses on increasing levels of self awareness and self acceptance/love. It empowers the individual to take some control of their emotional state. The model includes/combines a number of accepted coaching concepts, recognising mood/state, in both an experiential and logical way.The concept is based on the red zone (where the individual is disempowered, fear based, disconnected) and the green zone (where the individual is empowered, love based, connected) in a visual reference model with choice in between.When asked what Guests have got out of the session with Liz, it is often the visual simplicity of the model, that really helps it hit home to them. Helping them to understand where they are at, and what they want to be working towards. It provides clarity and context that the individual can easily remember and refer to going forward. Liz has found that those she works with connect quickly, and our situations change.
How it works

1. The first step is an initial session with Liz – during which she’ll explain how it works. Generally, this is done face-to-face – but can also happen over the Internet using Zoom or Skype.

2. If it ‘feels right’ Liz will talk to you about going further

3. We’ll then enter into an agreement to support you with Life Coaching. Taranaki Retreat commits to the support detailed in the agreement for as long as our Guest and the Life Coach together feel the support is beneficial. Liz’s support includes contact by phone/text outside of your sessions.

4. Liz will be making a considerable reduction of her rates, each session, as part of her support for the Retreat. We ask that everyone doing Life Coaching makes a contribution to the cost (even if it’s just $10 a session) – so that they have some ‘skin in the game’. We will discuss sensitively how much you feel able to contribute. Taranaki Retreat will commit to make up the balance – because we know this works!

5. You’ll decide on an initial number of sessions to meet. After these sessions are complete, we’ll review with you – and decide ‘What Next’? More sessions? Or moving into the next step on this journey. Of course, you can withdraw from the plan if you find that it’s not working for you.


Any questions? Go right ahead and ask!

In this article, we’ve used D&A as short-hand to refer to drug & alcohol / substance use/abuse – knowing that not all of this will apply, but just to give as broad a picture as possible :

Q. I am determined / my loved-one is determined to withdraw from D&A. Looks like a stay at the Retreat would really help with that?

A. Our answer would be – quite possibly later – but most definitely not now. Taranaki Retreat does not cater for rehab or detox patients and we aren’t a clinical facility. If you or a loved one are looking to break free from substances, the D&A service at Te Whatu Ora Taranaki or primary healthcare agency (for example, Tui Ora) is the first contact that should be made. They will provide you with all the resources necessary to tackle addiction – or contact numbers / websites / places to reach out to for this crucial service. We may be able to involved later, as we said – for example, some solutions are based on a plan for “Social detox” after the clinical support around withdrawal has been taken care of. This can look like a phased process or returning to home or community, and figuring out what the next chapter is going to look like, with the right supports. Alternatively, engaging with our ‘Outreach Support’ programme alongside clinical services could be the right call. Interested? Ask for more info.

Q. My loved-one/I’m in the process of withdrawing, and determined to succeed, but the environment at home is causing risk of relapse. Looks like I might be safe there?

A. Let’s talk this over. A good period of sobriety from alcohol and drugs and sometimes this is the right call – possibly for something like day visits / Outreach visits from a member of our Team / working towards a stay. Early on in getting on top of stuff, though, the best way to stay safe is to engage with a Rehab service such as Bridge; it is their speciality – whereas our particular objectives are quite different : to provide a breathing space and to focus on Suicide Prevention work for our community.

Q. It’s only weed, and I’ll be fine without it; in fact, I’d appreciate the opportunity to have a break from it, so that I can change my habits.

A. Taranaki Retreat does not function as a rehab service. It goes without saying that cannabis is a highly addictive substance, and stopping using it isn’t the easiest; we’d strongly recommend talking to your local A&D service and getting some tools and resources in the bag to tackle this the right way.. Taranaki Retreat is not the place to attempt to go cold turkey as the results may trigger or affect other Guests staying at the same time – and will certainly divert you from the core purpose of being here.

Q. I have been drinking quite a LOT lately, if I’m really honest, but I’ll be fine without for my stay.

A. As with cannabis (above) Taranaki Retreat is not the place to test whether you can cope without regular use of a substance. Please engage with your local A&D service; get the right help and support (it’s doable – but of course, much more doable if there’s the right supports around you). Remember that, while you’re finding your way through this – we can be alongside you through our Outreach Programme.

Q. Is there a helpline I can ring about my loved-one’s or my own drug/alcohol use?

A. head here, or call 0800 787 797

Kia kaha… we look forward to hearing from you further.

Prepare-Enrich is the relationship support tool we use at Taranaki Retreat. It is an international brilliant scheme which has been used by literally millions. Here’s how it works :

  • Both parties in the relationship complete an online survey about their relationship. It’s a ‘go with the gut’ survey of quite a few questions – touching on all areas of relationship, and the way we tick. The online tool we use for this charges $50 for this service. There is no cost for any of our input, nor any other aspect of the process. If this cost is a barrier to using the programme, we can sometimes help out with this fee – please ask!
  • The survey process is confidential to the person completing it. It’s therefore a great, non-confrontational way of both sides reflecting on where the relationship is at, without it turning into a slanging match, or a point-scoring exercise. Nobody ever knows what the other person puts in their survey – and the rule is that there’s no conferring to be done, or reporting back.
  • When both of you have completed the survey, separately, the system produces a detailed ‘road map’ – a cool booklet comprised of information, charts and data showing where the relationship is at.
  • It’s strengths-based, so it doesn’t give you a mark out of ten – but it shows where the relationship strengths are (e.g., leisure time / sexual relationship) and the challenges are (e.g., communication and dealing with conflict).
  • Once the profile is generated, a facilitator is arranged by the Retreat to meet with you as a couple to show you the profile and to talk you through it. Ideally, this is the first in a series of get-togethers, in which the facilitator is aiming to equip you, as a couple, with the tools you need to resource the areas of the relationship where there’s challenges.
  • How many support visits people go for will depend on your needs and both parties’ buy-in / commitment to making this all work 🙂
  • The profile also addresses issues like – how personality typing (e.g., introvert/extrovert preference) might affect things; past family background; who carries the stress in the relationship.

The next steps?

If you’ve not already done so – please talk to your partner about this possibility. Share the above information. Reflect together on whether you are ‘in’. If you both are, we need to be in touch with your partner, directly. The easiest way for us to be in touch with you both is for you to register (separately!) here.

Finally – GOOD ON YOU for taking this leap. We are keen to support you – drop us a message back with your thoughts, once you’ve had a read of this.

Arohanui, the Care Team at Taranaki Retreat

“Empathy” – A support group for those touched by suicide

A facilitated support group that meets fortnightly.

An opportunity to process our loss together; to learn from one-another; to gather resources that will help our healing; to be alongside one-another on this journey.

To find out more, or if you would be keen to take part, please call Taranaki Retreat on 06 2150993, or email [email protected]