Rākau Roroa/ Tall Trees
The Lived Experience Leaders Initiative
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Rākau Roroa initiative?
Rākau Roroa is a national initiative funded by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) and delivered by Changing Minds.
This initiative aims to create and maintain a network of confident, competent and capable leaders, who are prominent and visible in our local and national communities and earn public respect by being credible, authentic and honest about their mental health struggles and strengths.
Is this a Like Minds, Like Mine initiative or a National Depression Initiative?
It supports both programmes.
Rākau Roroa is being created to support the aims and messaging of both the Like Minds, Like Mine and National Depression Initiative (NDI) programmes. This initiative supports the aims of both programmes – ending stigma and discrimination and encouraging conversations to increase support and help-seeking. Leaders will be able to identify with one or both programmes and will be supported to use their experiential wisdom to counter discrimination and encourage help-seeking as part of the activities they engage in.
Why the name Rākau Roroa?
In discussions with Changing Minds Kaumātua (Ngāti Whātua) and our Māori partners, the name Rākau Roroa emerged which roughly translates as Tall Trees.
This has connotations of the strength, resilience and leadership of people with lived experience rising from the roots to the branches of our whenua connecting and supporting one another to grow.
It also helps to name the various stages of the project and reflect progression and growth beyond the current contract scope, for example;
What happened to Ngā Hau E Whā in regards to this project?
Unfortunately, it is not the right time for Ngā Hau E Whā to be involved with Rākau Roroa at this stage.
Will this initiative be a repeat of past work like the “Speakers Bureau”?
New Zealand’s Lived Experience movement has a rich and vibrant history of initiatives such as the “Speakers Bureau”, “Speak Your Mind” and “First Voices”.
We are learning from the magic of the past – from the strengths as well as the weaknesses. The “Speakers Bureau” is just one of the incarnations we are looking at for what worked well and where we can improve.
The Rākau Roroa initiative, however, is much broader than public-speaking. Providing more opportunities for people from all walks of life and industries who have a lived experience to use their wisdom and the wisdom of others to address discrimination and encourage helping-seeking in their communities, locally, culturally or demographically.
The initiative will identify people with existing skills, connections and project ideas and provide them with the right knowledge, messages and support to counter discrimination and encourage help-seeking within their field of interest.
How does this initiative fit in with “First Voices”?
In 2015, Peerzone, Kites and Mind and Body co-developed a pilot training for Like Minds, Like Mine providers called “First Voices”. This pilot was well received and the evidence gathered from participants suggested that the training helped those working on the Like Minds, Like Mine programme feel confident and competent in using the wisdom of their experience to carry out their community projects.
As this intellectual property was created for the Like Minds, Like Mine programme, and is owned by HPA, we will be able to learn from and build upon the core competencies of “First Voices” amongst other previous Like Minds, Like Mine and NDI training resources to develop the training components of the Rākau Roroa initiative.
Being able to use the learnings from “First Voices” and other evidence based programmes will ensure we don’t re-invent the wheel, but refer to, learn from and refine, taking into consideration the wider target audiences and activities of our lived experience leaders.
How will this initiative link to other anti-stigma and discrimination projects?
Anti-stigma and discrimination education and community projects will be funded by one of two new funds. A small grants fund for local community events and initiatives will be set up early in 2018. It is envisioned that trained lived experience leaders will be involved in education and community activity that is managed by other providers.
How will Rākau Roroa maintain a ‘grassroots’ focus and ensure grassroots voices are key drivers?
The Rākau Roroa initiative aims to include people with lived experience of mental distress from many walks of life, not just those already working in peer roles.
Of key importance will be the recruitment, support and training processes that participants are involved in as they become part of the Rākau Roroa whānau.
To make this as ‘grassroots’ focused as possible, the HPA and Changing Minds have committed to a co-design process to set up these three fundamental processes.
What is Co-design?
Co-design reflects a fundamental change in traditional service design, and is a new approach to programme design.
Rather than the traditional model of the funder designing the programme in isolation from the communities in which it will be delivered, co-design ensures that fundamental processes are designed by those at grassroots level.
Changing Minds and HPA are committed to ensuring the co-design philosophy is maintained for design, development and improvement throughout the duration of the initiative.
Changing Minds will work in partnership with Subject Matter Experts to ensure that communication reach is as extensive as possible to include grassroots consumers through a transparent process where people from our extended networks may watch the process online, and feed into it at any point, while we, the programme coordinators, ensure that progress is always forward-moving.
Does the Rākau Roroa initiative include addictions?
People with addictions are not specifically a priority area for the Like Minds, Like Mine and National Depression Initiative programmes.
In saying that, we are aware that mental health and addictions often do not sit as separate experiences and the programme will be inclusive.
There will be opportunities over the duration of the project to provide HPA with sector information which identifies gaps and opportunities for the future.
How do I get involved?
There will be opportunities available throughout the co-design process to become involved both as part of an organisation or as an individual.
As the co-design process continues, more communications will be posted on the Changing Minds website, local networks and through social media platforms.
Changing Minds will be establishing an interim place-holder webpage which will outline how to give feedback as the design process progresses.
Communications will be developed to support any interested organisations or individuals to forward the information to their networks of interest.
Organisations will be able to register an interest to be informed of design and delivery. –More information on how this will occur will be released as the co-design process progresses.
Individuals will be able to register interest to be participants. Interested parties will subsequently be informed of the formal process to apply to be a leader, and the training and support to use in their communities as a lived experience leader. More information on how this will be structured will be shared as the co-design progresses.
Project co-ordinator Neesha Bremner is happy to accept emails with questions and contact details so we can add you to the Rākau Roroa database.
Neesha can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org