In 2018, Government commissioned an independent inquiry into mental health and addiction in Aotearoa New Zealand. The inquiry brought together thousands of voices to paint a picture of the mental health and addictions landscape, giving life to He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction(external link)

He Ara Oranga set out 40 recommendations to improve the mental health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. 38 of these recommendations were accepted by Government in full, in principle, or agreed to further consideration.

Establishing a Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission was accepted by Government and work is currently underway to set the Commission up as an independent Crown entity, which is at arms-length from the government from the day.

While work is underway to set up the permanent Commission, Government has set up the Initial Commission to maintain the momentum of He Ara Oranga.

The Initial Commission will be in place until February 2021, when the permanent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is established.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission will perform an enduring role in transforming New Zealand’s approach to mental health and wellbeing. It will oversee the mental health and wellbeing system in Aotearoa and hold the government of the day and other decision makers to account for the mental health and wellbeing of people in Aotearoa.

There are some tasks the Initial Commission won’t be able to do, that the permanent Commission will eventually do:

  • Monitor and report publicly on the state of New Zealand's mental health and wellbeing beyond progress to implement the Government’s response to He Ara Oranga
  • Advocate for improvements to the mental health and wellbeing system outside the improvements Government has committed to through He Ara Oranga.

Our principles

  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi paves our way, and the Māori-Crown partnership is our foundation
  • Wellbeing for all is our goal
  • We uphold multiple knowledges, including Mātauranga Māori, and share power
  • We put people, whānau and communities at the centre of all our work
  • Our priorities are guided by the voices of lived experience, Māori, Pacific peoples and other groups who experience poorer wellbeing outcomes
  • We take holistic approaches that enhance wellbeing
  • We carry the spirit and voices of He Ara Oranga, Oranga Tāngata, Oranga Whānau and the Mental Health Inquiry Pacific Report
  • Our work makes a difference
  • Our work is accessible to all.

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