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Tag Archives: Mike King

Have You Seen the Target Zero Documentary Yet? Watch Online

A very special documentary aired on Maori Television on the 15th of June. Target Zero highlights the need for suicide prevention strategies in NZ, Key to Life Charitable Trust‘s grassroots work across NZ, what gets people through and the solutions whanau and youth themselves are enacting in their schools and towns. IMG_0168


Engage Aotearoa would like to congratulate Mike King, Jo Methven, Tai Tupou and the rest of the Key to Life team on  the messages they have brought together in Target Zero. This is an inspiring example of what can come about when genuine people, with genuine passion, collaborate with their communities to fill community needs.

Watch Target Zero online here and share it on social media.

These are the kinds of ideas we need to be spreading.

Recent highlights from Engage Aotearoa’s Facebook page

Here are some recent highlights from Engage Aotearoa’s Facebook page:

The Embassy of France has launched a call for applications to young New Zealanders to apply for a fantastic mobility programme in Paris centered on the theme of human rights and liberties.
The king of comedy comes clean with his drug and alcohol addictions.
Because I’m open about my depression, I get a lot of emails from people who are worried about a loved one who is struggling…
Did your high school sex ed class skip over this one hugely important detail? An article on consent.
This might resonate with some people.

Mike King’s Korero Heads to Taupo and Reporoa | 20-21 February 2014

Community Korero

This is a not-to-be-missed chance for communities to come together and explore how to support our youth and each other to survive and thrive. In the Community Korero, comedian Mike King gets straight up about his battle with depression, addiction and his ongoing journey back to recovery, including the mistakes he made along the way. Hear about the things he learnt from the hard times and how all those mistakes were blessings in disguise. Ask the questions you have always wanted to ask – Mike is joined by Tai Tupou for a Q & A session at the end of the talk. Connect with other community members who care. Plus heaps of useful resources to take away for later. Community Korero is open to all members of the community and is suitable for early teens to older adults. Mental-health workers, teachers, parents and town-planners are especially encouraged to attend this session.

Community Korero Dates

  • Thur 20 Feb 2014 | Venue: Taupo Nui a Tia College Hall, Taupo | Time: 7.00 pm
  • Fri 21 Feb 2014 | Venue: Reporoa Community Hall, Reporoa | Time 10.00 am – 12.00 pm
  • Fri 21 Feb 2014 | Venue: Te Toke Road Marae, Taupo | Time: 7.00 pm – 8.30 pm

Cool to Korero: School Sessions

Students get to spend some quality time with Kiwi comedian Mike King as he talks about how he survived growing up. Mike’s is the story of a kid who wanted to fit in. It is about wanting to be part of the cool group but being 4’11 with buck teeth and big ears and needing a miracle to make it happen. Then one day he discovered he had a gift to make people laugh and he went from being bullied, to being liked and then many years later becoming a bully himself. Mike shares tips on how to deal with bullies and also why bullies do what they do. Most of all, he speaks about why it is important to talk rather than have conversations with yourself.  Tai Tupou joins Mike for a Q&A session that gives students a chance to ask whatever they want of Mike and Tai. And anyone who needs support straight away will have the opportunity for some one-on-one time at the end. The main point is this… in life there will always be hurdles and heartbreak, but with perseverance, support and an attitude of hope, great things WILL happen.

Cool to Korero Dates

  • 20 February 2014 
    • Venue: Taupo Nui a Tia College, Taupo
    • Time: 9 am
  • 20 February 2014
    • Venue: Tauhara College, Taupo
    • Time: 1 pm
  • 21 February 2014 
    • Venue: Reporoa College, Reporoa

The Nutters Club episode on Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse | Maori TV | Mon 2 Dec 2013

The subject of male sexual abuse is the topic of a very frank episode of The Nutters Club on Monday December 2nd at 9:30pm on Maori Television. Mike King and David Codyre speak to Ken Clearwater and Rewi Smith about their experiences as survivors of sexual abuse.

Watch the trailer here on Vimeo

If you miss the episode when it airs on TV, you can watch all episodes online here.

Listen to The Nutters Club live on radio Newstalk ZB, every Sunday at 11pm.

Mike King Korero Heads to Taranaki Region in September

Mike King and Tai Tupou are hitting the road again in September to encourage schools and communities to make it cool to korero about the tough stuff, so we all make it through.

  • 10 September, 1 pm, Cool to Korero, Francis Douglas College, New Plymouth
  • 10 September, 7:30 pm, Community Korero, War Memorial Hall, Stratford
  • 11 September, 7:30 pm, Community Korero, Waves Building, New Plymouth
  • 11 September, 12:30 am, Cool to Korero for Hawera High and Patea Area School, The Hub, Hawera
  • 12 September, 11:30 am, Combined Community Cool to Korero, Opunake College, Opunake

While the team at Key to Life are getting ready to hit the road, the team at Engage Aotearoa will be adding recovery resources from each of these towns to The Community Resources Directory, so they can be delivered to those who need them when the team hits the ground in each of their locations across Taranaki. If you know of any services in the Taranaki region you think others would find useful, email them in.

Funding Cuts to Talking Therapies Hits the News

The NZ Herald has reported growing community concern over increasingly restricted funding for talking therapies across the country. Click the headline below to read the full story.


Alarm Over Depression Therapy Cuts – NZ Herald, 29 July 2013

Major insurance providers, Sovereign, have disclosed they will only fund medication and exercise as treatments for depression in future, given the cost associated with talking therapies and the number of people who need them.

In the article, Mike King of The Nutters Club and Key to Life Charitable Trust comments “I can say from experience that talk therapy absolutely works. But few people can afford it. We don’t need less talk therapy. We need to be working with the Government and insurance companies to find ways for more people to get affordable or free therapy.”

A representative from Sovereign insurance states that antidepressants are “proven to work” and uses an example of a person who is only mildly depressed following a period of unemployment as a time when talking therapy would be considered unnecessary and antidepressants considered sufficient. “This shows a misunderstanding of the research,” says Engage Aotearoa service director, Miriam Larsen-Barr, “antidepressants have been shown to be effective only at the severe end of the spectrum. People with mild to moderate symptoms can most definitely be helped with talking therapy and are much more likely to respond positively to that than antidepressant medication. People tend to have these experiences for a reason. Talking therapies help people address those reasons in ways that medication alone cannot, for all that it has its place and uses.” 

One might argue that restricting treatment choices to medication or exercise alone limits service-users’ ability to make the best recovery choices for them or freely give their informed consent – choice is considered a fundamental part of consent and choice requires multiple options. This is reflected in the Health and Disability Commissioner’s Code of Consumer Rights. In the recent Partnership Report from Changing Minds, service-users specifically call for a greater range of choice when it comes to their recovery. The NZ Herald article has already inspired much debate.

Comments on Facebook posts sharing the article are calling for some kind of action to address the issue of funding for talking therapies. Funding for therapy has been an issue for quite some time. Improved access to talking therapies was one of the requests made in the Petition for Better Mental-Healthcare Choices that was delivered to parliament in June. The Health Select Committee will be meeting to discuss the petition in the next month or two, but have yet to release the date of their meeting. If you are passionate about this issue and want to add your voice to those calling for better access to the things that work, email your submission to the chairperson of the Health Select Committee Paul Hutchison at  paul.hutchison@parliament.govt.nz or contact your local MP. 


Mike King Korero Heads to Rotorua 2-3 July 2013

Mike King of The Nutters Club and Key to Life Charitable Trust is joined by Tai Tupou next week as they stop off in Rotorua on their way to Tokoroa as part of Key to Life and Engage Aotearoa’s Korero project.

In the Community Korero, comedian Mike King gets straight up about his battle with depression, addiction and his ongoing journey back to recovery, including the mistakes he made along the way. Hear about the things he learnt from the hard times and how all those mistakes were blessings in disguise. This is a not-to-be-missed chance for communities to come together and explore how to support our youth and each other to survive and thrive.

  • Tues 2 July 2013 |Venue: Sunset Primary School, Rotorua | Time: 6 – 8 pm

In Cool to Korero, school students get to spend some quality time with Mike and Tai as they talk about how they survived growing up. Mike’s is the story of a kid who wanted to fit in. It is about wanting to be part of the cool group but being 4’11 with buck teeth and big ears and needing a miracle to make it happen. Then one day he discovered he had a gift to make people laugh and he went from being bullied, to being liked and then many years later becoming a bully himself. Mike shares tips on how to deal with bullies and also why bullies do what they do. The main point is that struggles and hardship are part of life but if we make it cool to korero, seek support and hold on to an attitude of hope, we can get through anything and go on to thrive.

  • 2 July 2013
    • Session 1 Venue: Rotorua Girls High, 11:30 am
    • Session 2 Venue: Sunset Heights Primary School, Rotorua
    • Session 3 Venue: Western Heights School, Rotorua
  • 3 July 2013 
    • Session 1 Venue: Rotorua Boys High School
    • Session 2 Venue: Rotorua Intermediate, 1:00 pm

Posters for Upcoming and Past Korero Events

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Outcomes from Mike King’s Community Korero in Whangarei

Report: Mike King’s: “Community Korero” – Depression & Suicide Prevention

Feedback report by Aorangi Kawiti, Mana

Whangarei, Monday 8th– 9th April 2013

Support Team: Whangarei Coordinator: Aorangi Kawiti (Mana), Isha Waetford (Mana Rangatahi) Deeanna Matiu (Mana Admin Work Experience), Marama & Rowan Waddell, Janey Tana (Mana Wahine- Tane), Hone Tana (Man Alive), Shahni Bright (The Pulse), Arthur Harawira (Mana Kaikohe)

More than 150 people from across the Whangarei community, education, health, development & social sectors flocked to hear Mike King’s brutally honest korero on his very personal experience with depression, drug & alcohol addiction & suicide. Each of the three venues packed to capacity, The Hut at The Pulse, the May Bain Room at the Central Library and the Mana office, despite late changes in venues and media reports.

Sharing his story helped others to open up and share their story, identifying with someone who’s been there and no longer feeling so alone. Accepting himself, after a lifetime of longing for the acceptance of his father and everyone else when he couldn’t get that, is pivotal to who he is today and his ability to have a conversation about a subject as serious as suicide and depression that most are afraid to bring up, in case somehow talking about it may spread the contagion, bring more suicide or increase depression. Guess what? Talking freely about depression and suicide in a safe and caring environment is amazingly liberating and invigorating. Sharing the grief of suicide is healing, releasing us from blame and guilt when we understand we have done all we could to prevent it and accepting that despite our best efforts we may not have been able to stop someone we love dying through suicide. Empowering us beyond this is the hope that propels to do all that we can to save a life from suicide, starting with the conversation: “Are you okay?” “Do you need help?” “I’m here for you” “I care about you”…then staying till they get the help they need. We need to believe people when they let us know they are suffering. We can make it easier for people to talk to us, by being more open about ourselves and our own struggles.

Humour by nature, as a survival technique and a tool of communication, is huge in Mike’s story, opening a window into his life that is warmly empathetic of young fullas growing up and easily related to. Mike’s the ambassador for Key to Life, the charity behind The Nutters Club. The feminine view is well represented by Miriam Larsen-Barr, the Korero coordinator, Engage Aotearoa Service Director, www.engagenz.co.nz website creator and administrator with a handy MA (1st Class Honours) in Psychology. Youth team member Tai Tupou, Head Trainer/ Director of RIPPED Training, No1 Boot Camp Trainer 2012 comes highly recommended by the youth in the audience, with a good dose of coconut oil as a natural remedy for depression (also recommended in the korero).

Here is a list of recommendations that came from the discussions at the Korero 

1.      Talk about our problems with each other so we aren’t dealing with the tough stuff alone

2.      Take people’s feelings seriously – remember that young people have the same emotions as adults

3.      Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are okay – we don’t need to fix their problem, we just need to listen and show we care

4.      It is okay to come right out and say ‘are you feeling suicidal?’ – asking this question does not put ideas into someone’s head, it gives them an opportunity to tell us about how they are feeling. Suicidal feelings are hard to talk about and asking the question makes it easier to do.

5.      Talking about why people feel suicidal is important, talking about how people attempt suicide is unhelpful as it accidentally shares methods – if someone is suicidal though, we need to know enough about what they are thinking to keep them safe and protect them from having the means to follow through on any plans they might have to act on their thoughts, so it is okay to ask people whether they have a plan and what that plan is

6.      Talk and listen to our own children the same way we would our friend’s children: When we talk to our children, listen to their hurt and try to get past our own hurt as parents that we have not protected them from everything

7.      Talk more about our own problems and how we get through them – when we are real it makes it okay for other people to be real, but silence brings shame and increases stigma

8.      We need to validate each other more, look for the positives in each other and reflect them back

9.      Be aware that antidepressant medication can increase suicidal thoughts and feelings for a time and report to your doctor if you notice this

10.  For people who are suicidal and depressed, nutrition can be really important. A number of Korero participants mentioned that eating coconut oil helped them improve their moods.

11.  Parents and teachers need to be on Facebook so they can respond to risky posts and offer their support – young people often say things on Facebook that they can’t say in person. Be there.

12.  We need to normalise mental-health problems and reduce stigma so people understand these problems are common and that they can recover from them.

13.  We need to make it okay to make mistakes

14.  We need to stop thinking it is someone else’s problem to provide the support, that it is not our business and that what happens in a family should stay in the family – we are smaller families inside the one bigger family of our community, it is okay to help people from other families or to seek help from people in other families

15.  We need to give ourselves permission and our children permission to take our masks off, ask for help and show we care.

16.  Be persistent – if we feel suicidal we need to keep asking for help until we find the person who can give it to us. If we know someone is feeling suicidal we need to keep offering our support until they are able to accept it.

17.  Get help – there are heaps of supports available from counselling and therapy to phone lines like 0508 TAUTOKO, youth groups like The RAID Movement and whanau supports like Supporting Families.

18.  Support needs to be individualised and take wairua/spirituality into account for people who have a spiritual perspective

19.  Find and share information about mental health, suicide and recovery resources – a lot of the info that was available at the Korero resource table is available online at the National Depression Initiative, The Low Down, The Mental-Health Foundation and the EngageNZ websites.

20.  We all need to feel accepted and included. Let’s accept and include each other more. What we do makes a difference.

Comments from Participants

“Your korero touched my heart.”

“I acknowledge your korero on suicide and you’re right, all the money in the world won’t fix it but talking will.”

“Tautoko your mahi and korero. Yes! We need to talk, hug, awhi etc to get the message out – “you are not alone”.”

“Absolutely fantastic korero, learned so much and totally believe sharing stories is a wonderful way of healing. I’m so glad our team attended.”

“The talk the other day was brilliant. Well really it was a discussion. It was very open, honest, inclusive and well worth taking the time to go to. Important things we got out of it are, talk, have a conversation, be yourself and know that you do not have the right to know if someone else likes you or not. Thanks very much I’m sure everyone took something useful away with them.”


Given all the shared conversations by people who care and the empathetic response of support from the community at this time when we are sadly aware of the deaths to suicide in Whangarei last year and increasingly over the past few years, it is with hope inspired by this presentation and the collective support it has received that we are glad to report some very real and positive results from this:

  1. Conversations were shared about depression, suicide and recovery in our community
  2. Conversations are continuing with whanau and community
  3. Increased information and awareness in the community (Community Resources Directory of recovery services online at EngageNZ, distributed at meetings for people to add to and have available in a prominent place at their service for people to access)
  4. Service providers and clinicians engaging to support whanau and community
  5. Survivors of Suicide Support Group, to meet monthly, for people who have lost someone to suicide, considered suicide and survived or are currently struggling with these feelings. We are engaged in planning and partnership activities to ensure this will be a safe and supportive group, with the intention of being able to begin in June or July.

Ma tatou tahi e awhi e hapai te kaupapa nei. Through all of us working together we share.

Report prepared by Aorangi Kawiti
Contact: kawiti.aorangi@gmail.com, 0226202262

Haka for Suicide Awareness and the Tu Kotahi Project

Students at Taipa Area School took part in the Cool to Korero seminar with Mike King at the beginning of March this year. Last week, Mike King of Key to Life Charitable Trust and Tai Tupou of Ripped Training returned to Taipa for their Kapahaka festival and were treated to the world premier performance of a haka for suicide awareness that the students created following the presentation.

Thanks to Tai Tupou, Engage Aotearoa is now able to share some footage of the haka here for everyone to see. The link below will take you through to a publicly available video shared on Facebook.

Click here to watch Taipa Area School’s Haka for Suicide Awareness.

Trigger alert: This is a powerfully expressive piece, created and performed by youth at Taipa Area School and they bravely take you on a journey through the full spectrum of emotion with this piece. If you have lost someone to suicide, we suggest watching this video with a friend, these kids don’t hold back for a second and there are a few explicit actions involved.

Newspaper Stories Keep Messages Alive and Well in Whangarei!

The Northern Advocate has published two amazing stories that take the Community Korero messages out to the wider community. Sharing these articles with friends and whanau might help someone you know to help themselves or help their loved ones. Please forward them around as widely as you can.

More Talk Needed on Suicide, Not Less – 22 April 2013

King: Learn to Like Yourself – 10 April 2013

Tu Kotahi Gets Up and Running

Since Engage Aotearoa and Key to Life first visited the Far North, Key to Life has created a student-led suicide prevention initiative called Tu Kotahi and linked in with youth ambassadors from Kaitaia College and Taipa Area School to make sure that it’s the youth themselves who are leading the charge to prevent suicide in NZ. Ezekial from Taipa Area School and Aleisha from Kaitaia College are on board and want to hear from other youth who have suggestions or want to get involved.

Visit the Key to Life Facebook Page to link in with Zeek and Leesh!

KTL Logo w Website

The Nutters Club is Back on Air from Sunday 21st of April 2013!

Here are the frequencies for The Nutters Club new home on radio Newstalk ZB – first show this Sunday 21st April from 11 pm-1:00 am…

“yes we know it’s late,” says host Mike King, “but look at the positive people…we are back!!!”

These are the Newstalk ZB Frequencies across NZ

  • Ashburton 98.1 FM 873AM
  • Auckland 89.4FM 1080AM
  • Blenheim 92.1FM
  • Central Otago 89.6FM 95.1FM 90.6FM
  • Christchurch 100.1FM 1098AM
  • Dunedin 1044AM
  • Gisborne 945AM
  • Greymouth 99.1FM 1287AM
  • Hawkes Bay 90.3FM 1278AM
  • Kapiti 89.5FM
  • Manawatu 100.2FM 927AM
  • Masterton 846AM
  • Nelson 1341AM
  • Northland 1026AM 1215AM
  • Oamaru 1395AM
  • Rotorua 747AM
  • Southland 864AM
  • Taranaki 96.4FM 1053AM 1278AM
  • Taupo 96.0FM
  • Tauranga 90.2FM 1008AM
  • Timaru 1152AM
  • Tokoroa 1413AM
  • Waikato 97FM 1296AM
  • Wanganui 1197AM
  • Wellington 89.3FM 1035AM

KTL Logo w Website