Engage Aotearoa

Category Archives: Lgbt Community

Taking part in the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry

The Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction has been established by the New Zealand Government in response to widespread concern about mental health and addiction services in the mental health sector and the broader community. It’s time to have your say about what works, what doesn’t work, and what else is needed. Submissions are due by 5pm, 5 June 2018.

Anyone can make a submission to the Inquiry. Service-users, family members, and mental-health professionals have especially valuable perspectives to share. There are a number of different ways you can make your voice count.

  • Fill out the Inquiry Panel’s consultation document. You can do this online or on a downloaded form. The consultation document is like a short survey that asks the following questions…
    1. What is currently working well? Why do you think it is working well? Who is it working well for?
    2. What isn’t working well at the moment? What mental health and addiction needs are not currently being met? Who isn’t receiving the support they need and why? What is not being done now that should be?
    3. What could be done better?
    4. From your point of view, what sort of society would be best for the mental health of all our people?
    5. Anything else you want to tell us? 
  • Write your own submission and email this to the Inquiry Panel. They will consider all submissions received. You can use the questions in the consultation document or not, the choice is yours.
  • You can also provide your submission over the phone by calling 0800 644 678 between 9:30am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday. Someone will be able to talk to you and write down your ideas about how to improve mental health and addiction in New Zealand.
  • Finally, you can attend a regional community meeting to share your ideas directly with the panel. You can complete their Expression of Interest form so they can keep in touch with you when they have updates to share.

Contact the Mental Health and Addictions Inquiry

Website: www.mentalhealth.inquiry.govt.nz

Email: mentalhealth@inquiry.govt.nz

Phone:  0800 644 678

Transgender Awareness Week 2015: Nov 14-20

Transgender awareness week starts on November 14th and finishes up on November 20th, the ninth annual Trans Day of Remembrance.

Trans on Campus  from The University of Auckland, Rainbow Youth and GenderBridge (pdf), have teamed up to organised two Trans Awareness Week events in Auckland, including a one-day symposium, Transacademia.

Learn more for Transgender Awareness Week…

Inside Out

Rainbow Youth: Queer and Trans Info Pages


Support Group for Women to Talk about Same Sex Attraction; Auckland


Would you like a supportive women’s space to talk about same sex attraction?

This group is participant directed, a space to explore topics like:

  • What does same sex attraction mean to you?
  • Identity labels…e.g.  Bi, Queer, Lesbian, Dyke
  • Stereotypes and gender stereotypes
  • Being in an opposite sex relationship and having same sex attraction
  • Finding community and dating
  • Being out in society
  • If you want to come out, how to tell family, friends, work colleagues
  • Relationships with women
  • You, your children and a new relationship

This six-week group is facilitated by Cissy Rock and Ellie Lim.  Cissy is a prominent contributor to the Auckland Lesbian scene creating events and support groups.  She enjoys getting alongside people and sharing her experience as a mother, feminist, lesbian, friend and partner.  Ellie works for the Auckland Women’s Centre and has had extensive involvement with rainbow organisations.  She is passionate about enabling women to live the lives they dream of living.

Comments from previous participants:  (I enjoyed) “Being able to connect with people and talk to people who were experiencing similar things to me.  Having experienced people to help us and cheer us on.”  “Really enjoyed (it) and appreciated the professional delivery. Thanks! :-)”

Date: Tuesdays 7 July – 11 August, 2015
Time: 7.00pm-9.00pm
Venue: Auckland Women’s Centre, 4 Warnock Street, Grey Lynn
Cost: FREE
Contact: Ellie on 376 3227 ext 1 or email her on womensservices@womenz.org.nz
Come along, ask questions, share, this is a safe, non-judgemental environment. (6 weeks)

US Supreme Court Rules Same Sex Marriage a Constitutional Right

The US Supreme Court ruled on June 26th that marriage is a constitutional right that extends to couples of the same sex, effectively legalising same-sex marriage across the United States and making it unconstitutional for any State to ban same-sex marriage.

In his ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy declared, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

Read more here.

Keep on Keeping On: Carnival for a Cause | Auckland 7 Dec 2014

Third Annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Carnival

  • Date: 7 December
  • Time: 13:00–16:00
  • Place: Corban Estate Arts Centre, 2 Mt Lebanon Lane, Henderson, Auckland

Keep on Keeping On is the annual festival where we all come together to have fun in the sun at the same time as we learn about suicide prevention, who we can all turn to in our time of need or how to talk about a loved one at risk. 

This year’s event features carnival rides and games, FREE Santa photos, a market filled with local groups and organizations who work hard to make our community a great place to be, and also lots of local organizations that are here to help us if we are feeling a bit confused or down or just need a good old chin wag.

This year the event is welcoming back YOUTHLINE, and the WALSH TRUST and joined by groups like MAN ALIVE, ADHB SEXUAL HEALTH, CASPER and many many more, in the hope of letting people know exactly who they can turn to if they are in need. 

Find more info on the Facebook Event page

Four Articles from the APA Monitor

The following content is from the Monitor digital newsletter. The Monitor is the magazine of the American Psychological Association, which they describe as “a must-read for psychology educators, scientists and practitioners.”

Born Bashful

Psychologists have new insights into the causes and effects of childhood shyness.

Unlocking the Emotions of Cancer

A new mandate requires cancer centers to screen oncology patients for distress.

Double Whammy Discrimination

Health-care providers’ biases and misunderstandings are keeping some older LGBT patients from getting the care they need. Psychologists are working to change that.

Suicide and Intimate Partner Violence

A US federal initiative aims to bring experts from the two fields closer together in an effort to save lives.


Good Practice Guidelines for the Assessment and Treatment of Adults with Gender Dysphoria

An online resource from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London aims to improve treatment for people who identify as non-cis or gender-queer. “Gender variance is not uncommon…A survey of 10,000 people undertaken in 2012 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that 1% of the population was gender variant to some extent – though this figure cannot be assumed to be representative of the whole population…People often find it difficult to confide their feelings … to their GP because they fear ridicule, guilt or shame, or are concerned about delays in getting treatment… It is estimated that up to 40% of people with gender dysphoria may not be receiving appropriate help.”

The best practice guidelines are endorsed by 13 separate organisations and have been drawn up by a working group that included representatives from psychiatry, endocrinology, gynaecology, urology, general practice, nursing, psychology, psychotherapy and speech and language therapy, as well as representation from patient groups. It is the first time that so many different groups have come together to agree a common set of guidelines.

Click Here to Download the Full Resource

Thanks to the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership for sharing this information.

Invitation to Participate in Research

Asian MSM Research

Gay, bi or have sex with other men?

Do you identify as Chinese or South Asian?

Please consider taking part on in an interview about life in Auckland.


Hello, we are members of a research team from the SHORE and Whāriki Research Centre and the School of Nursing, Massey University.

What is this study about?

This research aims to explore Chinese and South Asian gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) views about gay life in Auckland. The study has been funded by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.    

Why focus on Chinese and South Asian gay, bisexual or MSM?

People identifying as Chinese and South Asian are the largest groups of Asian people living in Auckland. Because of this we are interested in interviewing people about their family and culture, lifestyle in Auckland, socialisation including relationships, sexual identity and condom use. We therefore invite you to participate in this study.

If you take part in the study what will you have to do?

The study uses face to face audio recorded interviews at a place of your choice to collect the information we require. The interview will take approximately one hour to complete. We are looking for gay, bisexual and other MSM who identify as Chinese or South Asian, who are 30 years of age or under, can read and speak English and who were either born in New Zealand or somewhere else. If you do decide to be part of the study you will be able to choose which interviewer you would like to take the interview with. If you agree to participate a $30 grocery voucher will be given to you in recognition of the time you contribute to the study.

What will happen to the information you provide?

  • All information collected during this study will be confidential.
  • To protect your privacy your real name will not be used anywhere. Instead we will use an anonymous ID code or pseudonym to labelany information relating to you such as the transcribed information from the audio-taped interview, any reports or articles produced. Access to any information that links your personal details to the ID code will be restricted to members of the research team listed at the bottom of this information sheet.
  • All research materials will be kept in a locked metal filing cabinet and will be destroyed after 5 years.

When the interviews have been completed and the tapes transcribed, the findings will be written up as a report to the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. Conference papers and journal articles will also be written from this research.

Are there any risks involved in taking part in this study?

There are no risks associated with participating in this study. Accepting this invitation to participate is entirely your choice. At any time during the study you have the right to:

  • decline to participate
  • refuse to answer any particular question
  • withdraw from the study up until seven days following the interview
  • ask any questions about the study at any time during participation.

At the conclusion of the study a summary of the findings will be available on www.shore.ac.nz.

If you do agree to take part, and then change your mind you are free to withdraw from the study up until seven days following the interview. If during the interview any of the questions or aspects of the discussion cause you to feel upset and you need support, further information and/or counselling please contact the Burnett Centre on 0-9-309 5560, the NZAF 24 hour Nationwide Hotline on 0800802437, Lifeline 0800 543 354, or Chinese Lifeline 0800 888 880.

What should you do now?

If after reading this information sheet you decide to participate then you should select from the list below the person you would be like to be interviewed by and contact them to arrange an interview.



Ivan Yeo

Gay Chinese Malaysian man. Been in New Zealand since 2001. Speaks English, Mandarin and Cantonese.


021 423 697

Jitesh Prasad 

Bisexual man. Indian, Fijian born. Speaks English and Hindi


021 423759

Stephen Neville

 Gay man. NZ European. Speaks English.

 Phone/text: 021 666 919

Email: s.j.neville@massey.ac.nz

Jeff Adams

 Gay man. NZ born; NZ European and Anglo-Indian enthnicity. Speaks English.

 Phone: 0800 854 120

Text: 021 645 213

Email: j.b.adams@massey.ac.nz

Interviewers who can speak other languages may be available. Please contact Jeff Adams to discuss this.

Project Contacts

If you have any questions about the project, please contact one of the researchers named below:

Dr Jeff AdamsSHORE & Whariki Research Centre

Massey University

P O Box 6137

Wellesley St


Phone: (09) 366 6136 Fax: (09) 366 5149


Dr Stephen NevilleSchool of Nursing

Massey University

Private Bag 102 904

North Shore Mail Centre


Phone: (09) 414 0800 Fax: (09) 441 8165



This project has been reviewed and approved by the Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Northern, Application 13/042. If you have any concerns about the conduct of this research, please contact the Chair, Massey University Human Ethics Committee: Northern, telephone 09 414 0800 x43350, email humanethicsnorth@massey.ac.nz.

Page authorised by Sally Casswell
Last updated on Friday 11 October 2013

Fiesta In The Park | Free Public Event: 12 OCT 2013, Auckland

The 3rd Biennial Fiesta in the Park at Western Park in Ponsonby on the 12th of October 2013.  

This years theme is CONNECT: wellbeing through connection.

In celebration of Mental Health Awareness events across the globe Fiesta in the Park welcomes Sola Rosa to the Fiesta and are joined by old friends Jan Hellreigel, Emma Paki, SINA, Sam RB, The Desotos, Mike Chunn & Play it Strange, Gareth Edwards, Miller Yule, and Ash Graham.  Spoken word poetry by The Literatti, and dance by Touch Compass.  Feast on deliciousness from the Paella Pan, Gourmet Shuttle, Banger Boys and a little sweet from the Donut Dudes to go with your Coffee Guy coffee or Nitro Juice.

Join in the art and fun activities including yoga, clown performers ZIG n ZAG and Circus in a Flash. The Fiesta celebrates Auckland’s rich diversity and culture.

This year you can join in the celebrations and participate, with the Fiesta hosting a moving image digital artwork screen, themed around community connection and wellbeing.  Toi Ora Live Art Trust are putting a call out for contributions of images, text, poetry, drawings, photos, what ever you like.

Email them to toioradigital@gmail.com


  • On: Saturday 12th October. (Rain day:  Sunday 13th)
  • At: Western Park.  Ponsonby Rd.
  • From: 12 to 7pm.

Health Select Committee Meeting About Petition for Better Mental-Healthcare Choices in NZ

Update: The Health Select Committee is not accepting submissions from the public for their meeting on the Petition for Better Mental-Healthcare Choices in NZ at this stage, as was advertised in the August 5th notice below. Submissions are to be accepted only from the petitioner (Annie Chapman) and the Ministry of Health.

As public submissions are typically invited, the team at Engage thought the same would be true of the meeting about the Petition for Better Mental-Healthcare Choices. We apologise for any inconvenience and frustration caused to anyone who had prepared or sent a submission in.

Engage Aotearoa has sent their submission in and encouraged the chair to consider it anyway.

Click here to read Engage Aotearoa’s Submission on the Petition for Better Mental-Healthcare Choices.

We will keep working to turn our recommendations into realities,” says Engage Aotearoa service director, Miriam Larsen-Barr, “It’s what we do anyway and it won’t be the last opportunity we have to reach the decision-makers with our ideas for how to make the recovery journey easier for people living in NZ.

If you feel strongly about these issues and wonder how you can be part of the change in an ongoing way – contact Engage Aotearoa and introduce yourself. The team of volunteers is always keen for more hands on deck and more perspectives for the mix. Email admin@engagenz.co.nz

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The Petition for Better Mental-Healthcare Choices in NZ had it’s first reading by the Health Select Committee on the 10th of July and submissions are invited by the 23rd of August.

Find out more about making a submission here.

If these options are difficult for you, contact the chairperson of the Health Select Committee Paul Hutchison paul.hutchison@parliament.govt.nz 

Contact Annie Chapman for more information on hikoiforhealth@gmail.com 

Click here to visit the Hikoi website.