Aaryn Niuapu has a long history of strategically championing the voices of tāngata whai ora, whānau, and hāpori in mental health and addiction service design, delivery, and governance. He has extensive experience facilitating innovative change through strategic leadership and mātauranga Māori.
As the Director of Service Design Oranga Hinengaro (Te Aka Whai Ora), Aaryn collaboratively leads and facilitates the elevation of mātauranga Māori informed design and innovation across the national continuum of service engagement.
Formerly the Lived Experience Director for Te Whatu Ora - Te Toka Tumai, Aaryn was a key member of the Directorate Leadership Team for the Mental Health & Addiction Directorate. He was also the Co-chair of the National Association of Mental Health Services Consumer Advisors, the national body for Mental Health Consumer Advisors, and similar roles across all Te Whatu Ora districts.
Aaryn’s journey traverses his own lived experience of mental health and addiction; his clinical experience as a former Alcohol and Other Drugs Clinician; his community organising experience as the co-founder of Racial Equity Aotearoa; and his workforce development experience in roles across Te Rau Ora and Te Pou.
Aaryn has robust experience in partnering with diverse political groups to bring about equitable outcomes driven by collective Tiriti-centric action. He is dedicated to supporting national leadership that ensures service design and innovation reflect the aspirations of whānau and hāpori.
Aaryn has presented research and mātauranga Māori frameworks at several conferences:
- ‘Te Whānau o Puanga: Reframing Whānau Trauma Care Through Pūrākau’ at the 2019 Cutting Edge Conference
- ‘Mana Tangata as Clinical Practice: Working with and for Whānau Whaiora’ at the 2016 Cutting Edge Conference
- ‘Mana Manaaki – Moving Past Multiculturalism: An Indigenous Discourse on Racial Equity’ at the 2016 ‘Social Movements Conference’ at Victoria University
- ‘Te Hui o Hauora – The Gathering of Wellbeing’ at the 2015 ‘Healing Our Spirit Worldwide’, an international indigenous conference. The model is a whānau-centred approach to addiction rehabilitation.