Individual counselling, easy access, where you are. 

Puāwaitanga means to blossom, to flourish, to break through, and is a phone and web-based service to support Kiwis to improve their emotional wellbeing – their hauora. The service is an alternative to face to face counselling for Kiwis who are struggling but face challenges in accessing traditional counselling. All our staff are trained professionals and counselling sessions are private, confidential and free. 


Puawaitanga logo and landscape

Why Puāwaitanga works 

  • Gives time- and resource-poor Kiwis access to professional, confidential counselling
  • People can book counselling when it suits them - Puāwaitanga will ‘move mountains’ to work around their busy lives
  • The taringa (ear) and waha (mouth) on the other end of the phone will be empathetic, culturally sensitive and authentic
  • Clients can speak to counsellors about any issues, some of which might be low mood, anxiety, grief, addictions, relationship issues and low self-esteem.

How Puāwaitanga works

  • GP or case worker identifies someone in need and refers them to Puāwaitanga  
  • The client completes an enrolment questionnaire, chooses their counsellor and books an initial appointment, all via the Puāwaitanga patient portal 
  • At the initial appointment, the counsellor listens to the client and helps them work out a progress plan  
  • Over the course of the programme (typically 3-6 sessions) the counsellor and client work together to improve the wellbeing of the client 
  • After their sessions, the counsellor may refer the client on to further services or the client’s clinical team to continue supporting them. 

How we developed Puāwaitanga 

We recognised a need to provide support to those who may have barriers to attending traditional face to face counselling services.  We launched a pilot in December 2016 for people living rurally in Canterbury, who after a referral from their GP received up to six free counselling sessions.  The pilot was well received; service users like the flexibility, accessibility and anonymity and many experienced positive clinical outcomes from using Puāwaitanga.  After its success, we extended Puāwaitanga to the wider Canterbury DHB region.

Current referring organisations are: Canterbury District Health Board, Ministry of Social Development, Central PHO, ProCare, Auckland University of Technology and The University of Auckland.