Mental Wellbeing Long-Term Pathway

The Ministry of Health is developing a long-term pathway for transforming New Zealand’s approach to mental wellbeing.

Kia Manawanui Aotearoa is the Long-term Pathway to mental wellbeing. It outlines the actions we will take over the short, medium, and longer term. This is cross-government work with everyone playing their part for the mental wellbeing of New Zealanders.

In transforming the mental health and addiction system, we want to make sure all New Zealanders get the support they need, where, when and how they need it

An important step in this transformation is creating fit-for-purpose legislation, and in 2019 the Government accepted the recommendation in He Ara Oranga (the report of the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction) to repeal and replace the Mental Health Act.

The Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act is legislation that sets out when, why and how the government can intervene in a person’s life to give them mental health treatment against their will.

The current Act became law in 1992. It has not kept pace with new approaches to care, and statistics show that Māori, Pacific peoples, and disabled people experience a range of inequities under the Act.

Many people in Aotearoa New Zealand access specialist mental health and addiction services every year, and most will never be placed under the Mental Health Act.

However, for those who do experience it, the Act has a big impact.

So now we need to get clear direction from New Zealanders about what mental health legislation should look like.

We want to hear your views on a range of topics, including:

  • The purpose of this legislation
  • How to embed Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Capacity and decision making, and
  • Seclusion, restraint, or other restrictive practices

We have an opportunity to create new mental health legislation that protects human rights, recognises Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and improves equity.

There are many things to consider, and we need your help in shaping the future of mental health legislation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

To find out more, visit the Mental Health and Addiction page on the Ministry of Health website.

Watch the Kai Manawanui launch, 23 September 2021


He Ara Oranga: Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction found that significant shifts were needed to enable better mental wellbeing outcomes for everyone in Aotearoa. It set out a clear and aspirational vision for the future – mental health and wellbeing for all.

We’re driving a transformation of how we support people needing help with mental health and addiction issues – broadening the scope to include prevention and early intervention, addressing equity issues and supporting our most vulnerable.

In 2020 The Ministry of Health published Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Ora Aotearoa: COVID-19 psychosocial and mental wellbeing plan.

Building on the strong foundation this plan provided, we developed Kia Manawanui Aotearoa. Our work has been informed by many insights and feedback gathered through a range of channels, including:

Long-Term Pathway engagement

Developing a longer-term pathway for transformation is a collaborative process, because achieving the vision we have for mental health and wellbeing for all requires a collective approach. We gathered feedback over March 2021, focused on the initial direction we had set in Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Ora Aotearoa, and how we could take it further to shape the long-term direction.

This included online information sessions about the Long-Term Pathway, which are all available as recordings below. 

Information session recordings

Following the engagement period, we analysed all the feedback we received to identify key themes and ideas. A report covering off a summary of the feedback is provided below.

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