At Te Awhinatanga o Mana Rōpū (Mana), we believe that all young people should enter into adulthood as loved, supported, empowered and self-sufficient individuals, regardless of their ethnicity or life experience.

By caring for tamariki in loving, respectful environments in accordance with the principles of tikanga, we can raise strong, resilient tamariki who don’t just survive in the world, but thrive – and by using a strengths-based approach, we can make this happen.

So, what exactly is a strengths-based approach?

A common approach in both social and youth work, a strengths-based approach focuses on an individual’s strength, capacity, and resources, identifying what strengths and qualities helped them achieve past successes in their life. It focuses on what is right with the individual, as opposed to what is ‘wrong’, facilitating hope and change rather than being stuck on the problem and regurgitating what has already happened.

A more positive approach to working with tamariki, it has been proven that by concentrating on the inherent strengths of individuals, families, groups and organisations, and by deploying personal strengths to aid recovery and empowerment, it highlights the factors that create and support human health rather than those that cause disease.[1] In short, it views the ‘problem’ as something that can be overcome and creates an opportunity for growth.

For the tamariki we work with at Mana, a strengths-based approach is imperative for creating lasting change and hope, enhancing their wellbeing, and proving to them that they have gifts to share with the world. Everybody makes mistakes, but it is how we view, confront them, and move forward with the knowledge and insight gained from it that changes the course of our lives for the better.

By using a strengths-based approach, we can work with our tamariki to create better outcomes, not only for themselves but for those around them. We can improve the quality of their relationships, including the one with themselves, creating lasting change, resilience, self-awareness, and enhance their overall wellbeing, allowing them to flourish into the people they were meant to be.

In using a strengths-based approach, we can watch our tamariki change the world.