Cultural Support Worker - Drug Treatment Unit - Arohata Prison

Ko wai mātou - Who are we 

CareNZ is an NGO dedicated to assisting those affected by alcohol and drugs. CareNZ supports anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s use of alcohol or other drugs, providing a range of services throughout the country, in both the community and prison settings. 

The CareNZ Drug Treatment Unit is located in Arohata Prison, Tawa, Wellington. 

The units primary focus and intent is that of a recovery-based philosophy to support wellness across physical social, cultural and spiritual domains, to both individuals and their whānau in a region. These programmes offer prisoners the opportunity to address their drug and alcohol issues while serving their sentence and offer them a pathway to sustainable life changes after their release. Positions which support the unit programmes are critical for its continued success. One such role is the position of the cultural support worker, a highly pivotal role which delivers cultural training, mentoring and development to internal staff, and supports programme participants to enhance their own cultural identity and reclaim their mana.

Te āhua o Te Tūrunga - The nature of the position

The focus of the Cultural Support role is to enhance and support the clinical team meet the maori responsiveness within all cultural practices and protocols, providing cultural training, mentoring and development of staff. Supporting staff competency and assisting with the integration of Mātauranga Māori into the therapeutic community, you will be supporting the programme participants to enhance their own cultural identity and mana, this may include basic te reo, kapa haka, use of harakeke or Rongoā to support and enhance their learning. Taking regular temperature checks, you have the intent to maintain the cultural integrity of the cultural concepts, frameworks and competencies used in the programme. Supporting reflective practice from a cultural perspective, you will engage with local mana whenua, and enabling wāhine to connect with their whānau, hapū and iwi. Understanding therapeutic practices and the ability to weave key concepts and practices with a Māori world view is vital to success in this position. 

Acknowledging the personal, physical, social, cultural, and spiritual strengths and needs of each person, including the clients’ interpretation of their own experiences, you will be forming high trust relationships with individuals and their whānau. You will recognize that tāngata whaiora may consider waiata, karakia and te reo Māori as contributors to their recovery and be drawing on your cultural competence to enable you to understand the different roles and responsibilities within whānau and the nature of whānau relationships with tāngata whaiora. 

You will also be acutely aware of Māori methods of interaction that support relationships - particularly with whānau, such as ‘No hea koe?’ (Where do you come from?) and tātai (establishing links). Working in partnership with the client to identify and include whānau, significant people and other networks to support recovery, you will be calling upon your life skills to form connections and rapport with whānau as part of a thorough assessment process and recovery plan. 

Ngā tino Pūkenga/Wheako - Essential skills/experiences for the role

Supporting the programme participants to enhance their own cultural identity and mana, will include the skill set to be able to deliver basic training in; te reo, kapa haka, use of harakeke or Rongoa etc to support and enhance their learning. A knowledge of alcohol or drug recovery and community resources together with working within a custodial environment would be an advantage, although not essential. 

Experience skills and knowledge required for this position include; 

  • Fluency in Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga principles.
  • Understand therapeutic practices and the ability to weave key concepts and practices with a Māori world view is vital.
  • Have knowledge and expertise in kapa haka.
  • Sound knowledge of and commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi in both historic and contemporary settings.
  • Strong communication skills, able to articulate views clearly to varied audiences in verbal and written form.
  • Have effective relationship management across multiple business groups and teams
  • Computer literate, with strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Have a passion to support tāngata whaiora and their whānau on their journey of recovery/wellness.
  • Proven skills developing a growing high trust relationships and the life experience to be relatable to a wide audience.
  • The motivation, energy and enthusiasm to keep going, even in defeat, supported by a sensitivity of spirit and a humble demeanor.
  • Experience working within Māori whānau, hapū and iwi and communities and relationships with Māori based professionals or groups.
  • Be able to work independently and unsupervised while maintaining high standards of accountability.

Supporting programme participants to enhance their own cultural identity and mana, will call on your life skills, your own personal mana and cultural immersion in within the Māori world view. A sound understanding of traditional healing processes and practices that support health and wellbeing, and of Te Oomai Reia (spiritual healing) is essential. Acknowledging differing spiritual practices and understanding that these unique perspectives contribute to the support of tāngata whaiora and whānau, you will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of tino rangatiratanga (self-determination) and mana motuhake (autonomy). Overarching is the organisational kaupapa Māori framework, where all interactions have a basis in mutual trust, respect, reciprocity and whanaungatanga, and as such, all applicants are to be culturally aligned to kaupapa Māori service delivery principles. This is the opportunity to join a team of passionate, innovative and highly successful professionals who help people on their recovery journey from addiction and make a genuine difference in people’s lives. This position will see joining an organisation where your mana will be enhanced, and where you will be enabled and supported to thrive. 

A competitive salary with an extensive benefits package is positioned to attract highly competent, and culturally aligned applicant. 

To enquire further in confidence contact Matire Kupenga-Wanoa for a confidential conversation now on 0272122918 or email [email protected] with your up-dated CV and covering letter.

Successful applicants must have NZ residency or a valid NZ work permit and are required to be police vetted. 

Closes: 9 November 2021