Te Pātaka - Houhanga Rongo Trust

The Innovation: Reintegration Programme (Te Ara Tika)

Our 'Reintegration Programme' is a post drug and alcohol rehabilitation support system that houses and assists clients and their whānau toward making healthier choices and lifestyle options. Since 2009 we have provided five reintegration programmes, all of which have had considerable success.

Houhanga Rongo Trust

[Sheryl Connell, Houhanga Rongo Trust] We’re not there to save the world.  We’re there to help those that are ready to help themselves.

[Winiata Soper a.k.a. Bones, Notorious Chapter] Our kaupapa used to be patch first.  Now it’s whanau first.

[Sheryl Connell] In and around 2003-2004, leaders of the Notorious chapter of the Mongrel Mob discovered that they had a need amongst themselves to deal with the growing methamphetamine amongst them.

(Gang members performing haka)

And over a period of about 5 years there was around about 35 deaths.  The majority of them were related to P issues.

[Winiata Soper] We had to realise that there was something wrong here.  And because it’s really highly addictive, it was very hard for our bro’s to come off it, to say no because they loved it that much that yeah, they just couldn’t stop.

[Sheryl Connell] So their solution to that was to have a rehab... their own rehab.


So the first step was the buy-in.  There needed to be intervention in their lives and they needed to come into rehab.

[Winiata Soper] They wouldn’t go to a rehabilitation centre because it was foreign.  So we thought about creating one for ourselves.  And not just for our bro’s because we wanted to involve the whole family because the family – they’re at home and they’re involved too.  Whether they get up in the morning and see dad smoking or whatever happens in the house, they’re involved right from dawn to dusk.

[Sheryl Connell] Houhanga Rongo Trust supported what Notorious wanted to do.  And we got no traction from anybody.  We put it in front of a lot of people.  There was no help.  No one really wanted to help Mongrel Mob get off drugs.

[Winiata Soper] But our bro’s kept, you know, getting sick.  And families too, and children, you know it affected the whole family.  So we had to keep doing something, looking for someone to help us.

The Salvation Army – they had the knowledge and the information that we needed.  And we had the people that needed healing.

[Captain Gerry Walker, Salvation Army] We’ve got to start doing something.  These folks are here because they don’t want their children and their grandchildren following them.


[Sheryl Connell] The second stage was their going into rehab.  This is like a live-in.  It’s like going into family camp.  It’s like going into school camp.  And you’re there all together for 6-8 weeks.

[Unidentified Notorious member] Get up in the morning.  Breakfast.  Class starts at 9 o’clock.  It’s pretty scary watching that stuff.  You know, really watching what we’re really going through and what it’s doing to our heart.  You know, it really makes us think you know.

[Sheryl Connell] Notorious chapters’ families also go in and they are the helpers; they are the minders; they are the cooks; they are the cleaners; they are the security.

[Unidentified Notorious member] Takes unique people to do it because there’s unique people in the class.  So if anyone to nut out in class, I’m there to stop it straight away.

[Sheryl Connell] What has been norm becomes not a norm anymore because it’s not tolerated.  So a new safety enters the equation.

[Winiata Soper] Tikanga’s got that healing as well because what comes from that is discipline from mau rakau, haka.  So at the end of the programme at graduation, they’re able to stand up in front of a whole group of people – which they’ve never done before – powhiri, mihi, and whaikorero.  And that’s coming from not knowing anything from when they went in.


[Sheryl Connell] The third step is reintegration, project-managed by Houhanga Rongo Trust.  Reintegration is the transition coming out of rehab, free of P.

[Winiata Soper] We’re preparing them to go out into the world from where they came.

[Sheryl Connell] It’s coming into a home, a home environment.

[Winiata Soper] It’s not like a prison.  You don’t get locked up at night.

[Sheryl Connell] All getting themselves organised back into normal, right?  Back into normal.  Because for years for a lot of them, they have not been normal because they’ve been somewhere else.

We go through their whanau plan; justice issues that need to be addressed; going to the doctors.

[Winiata Soper] Sharing time with our children at the beach or at the snow.

[Sheryl Connell] Where learning how to function as a family is part of that process.  You can’t do that in rehab.

[Winiata Soper] We can’t heal everyone.  They have to heal themselves first, come from within them to make that step.

[Captain Gerry Walker] Reduction and recidivism in and out of prison – dramatically reduced.  If they were still sitting in prison the cost would be ticking over.

[Sheryl Connell] It doesn’t ever end.  We’ve had five rehabilitation programmes since 2009.  Our reintegration, flow into each other.  They don’t stop so… we’re still in it (laughs).

About Houhanga Rongo Trust

Houhanga Rongo Trust trading as HHR Trust Aotearoa was incorporated as a charitable entity 25 years ago and has extensively developed as an organisation over that time. HHR provides services predominantly in the areas of Health, Education, Community Housing and Youth. These services are provided mainly throughout Auckland including South Auckland, Waitakere (West Auckland) and Te Raki Paewhenua (North Shore).


Houhanga Rongo Trust
198A East Tamaki Road
East Tamaki

P O Box 61-012
Auckland 2159

Phone: 0800 274 443
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.hhrtrust.com  

Disclaimer: This page and the innovation it accompanies do not represent the views of the Ministry of Health. The views represented are those of Houhanga Rongo Trust and the innovation piloted.

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