16th Reintegration Puzzle Conference

Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre
1-3 March 2023

Changing Seasons,
Changing Lives

Te Ngahere: A Prison-based Addiction and Recovery Programme Which Draws on Māori Ancestral Connection to the Land, its Seasons and its Ecosystem

Odyssey supports more than 4000 tāngata whai ora (people seeking wellness) each year in a wide range of settings. We have been the lead provider of New Zealand’s first Alcohol and other Drug Treatment Court, and we run drug treatment programmes in a number of custodial settings. We are committing to honouring the Treaty of Waitangi in our work and we have a well-established Mātūtū (recovery) programme that supports cultural reconnection within our adult services.
This presentation outlines an eight-week programme called Te Ngahere that was recently introduced in four New Zealand Corrections Facilities, informed by Te Ao Māori (Māori world view) and clinical best practice. Te Ngahere can be translated as the forest, but also suggests ‘many connections, many ties’. For Māori, the forest is a collective, living organism; from its life force comes its mana and its value. Te Ngahere draws on the Māori Maramataka (lunar calendar) and Takiwā (seasons) – with an emphasis on connection as the root of wellbeing.
Māori trace their genealogy back to the land itself and so the programme echoes the changing of the seasons with a view to restoring natural cycles found in pepeha (identity), marae (place) and whānau (family), thereby restoring wellbeing and revealing individual potential.
This presentation aims to give some insight into the design and implementation process, as well as some of the challenges we have encountered during the early implementation phase. We will also discuss how its principles will be translated into the release/ reintegration phase during aftercare.


Peter Sciascia
Kaiwhakahaere Matua (Cultural Strategy and Relationships Lead)
, Odyssey House

My name is Peter Sciascia and I am of Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Porou descent. I have an extensive background in Mātauranga Māori.  I worked for 12 years at Te Wānanga-o-Raukawa (TwoR) in various roles:  as a Pūkenga Mātauranga, lecturing in the Mātauranga Māori degree, and Acting Director of the degree.

During my time at TWoR I taught students about Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi under the guidance of Whatarangi Winiata, as well as other aspects of Mātauranga Māori. The Mātauranga Māori degree was delivered at multiple sites around the country which gave me a good understanding of the tikanga and world view of many of the main iwi in Āotearoa.

I’ve been working for Odyssey Auckland since 2021, firstly as Principal Tikanga Advisor and then as Kaiwhakahaere Matua (Māori Strategic Lead) working on the embedding of tikanga, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and partnership with iwi into the organisation.

Sheena Wallace
Kaiarahi Māori (Cultural Lead)
, Odyssey House

My name is Sheena Maunsell and I am of Māori descent with connections to both Ngāti Paoa and Waikato iwi. I have a Bachelors degree in social work and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Kaitiakitanga (Bi-cultural Professional Supervision). I am a registered Social Worker and a member of DAPAANZ.

Currently I am employed as one of three Kaiārahi – Cultural Lead(s) for Odyssey, my role specifically located at Spring Hill Correctional Facility in Waikato. I was initially employed by Odyssey in 2019 as a clinican, spending two years in clinical roles supporting both the Drug Treatment and Intensive Treatment Programmes. For the past year, as Kaiārahi, I continue to be a kaitiaki, supporting and guiding cultural and integrated practice(s) within Intensive and Brief Intervention Treatment Programmes. Previous to my time at Odyssey, I spent almost 10 years in a number of social work roles within Iwi-based providers in the wider Waikato community area.

This time as a Social Worker, clinician and Kaiārahi has seen me move through the entire justice pipeline from the care and protection of children, to youth justice, to whānau social work and the custodial setting. I believe the importance of culture within these environments, approaches to practice and pathways to healing should not be under-estimated. Culture is fundamental to life, to achieving best outcomes and success for individuals and their whānau/family.