Māori health worker honoured

Addiction service started from back of her car






Friends, colleagues and whānau came together to help ensure a humble Hawke’s Bay Māori health worker received due recognition for her work. Monica Stockdale, now retired, has been made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to Māori health in this year’s New Year honours. She said she didn’t want to accept the accolade at first, as she felt it wouldn’t be right to. “At first I wasn’t happy about it, because when you’re working in a field like I do and you love what you are doing, you don’t feel that you should receive anything for it.” However, she changed her mind about it after confronting the people who had nominated her for the honour. Stockdale has been working in Māori health since 1983 after training in psychotherapy, social work, counselling, psychodrama and group therapy process. She was a psychotherapist and addiction and mental health specialist at Queen Mary Hospital alcohol and drug treatment programme in Christchurch for about 16 years from 1983 to 1998. She also worked as an assessor and trainer with the central institute of Wellington and delivered courses to remote communities and provincial centres and removed barriers to education for Māori, encouraging more Māori health workers in the field of addictions. She eventually came to Hawke’s Bay to be the manager of addiction services with the District Health Board. She said she is proud of all of her work, but particularly her work in addiction services. She was a trailblazer in the sphere of Māori health, creating Te Rangihaeta Oranga for gambling issues, the Ngā Punawai Aroha specialist programme for Māori and Pacific people, and working with Awhina Whānau services for counselling, psychotherapy and group education for Whānau. “I am proud of the fact that Te Rangihaeta is still running. I started that from the back of my car because I couldn’t get the funding I needed. We didn’t have anything for gambling, particularly Māori gamblers. “I wanted a service where they had the courage to come through the door and we would manaaki them, meaning that we would show kindness and love to those that did come through and understand that it takes courage.”