Kotuku is a place where people who are experiencing an emotional or mental crisis have an alternative to hospitalization or respite in a private home based using the peer support model. Peer support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility and mutual agreement of what is helpful.

Peer Support offers a fundamentally different model of supporting people to make sense of their experiences. It can provide people with opportunities to find new ways and strategies to respond. Peer support relationships validate the reality of a person’s experience outside the context of illness or diagnosis. Rather it is built on mutual aid and understanding. It attracts people who have experienced negative treatment in the system and also those who want to stay out of the system altogether. The peer support model challenges the problem approach and focuses on discovering and creating innovative and alternative resources, solutions and strategies.

Kotuku is based on the following concepts:

  • Respect
  • Having fun
  • Shared power
  • Creating dialogue
  • Valuing community
  • Flexible boundaries
  • Shared responsibility
  • Absolute belief in recovery
  • Empathy and accountability
  • Understanding and mutuality
  • Honest direct communication
  • Self Awareness and Reflection
  • Creating new ways of making meaning
  • Not using symptoms as an excuse for inconsiderate behavior

“He kotuku rerenga tahi”, a kotuku of a single flight. A Kotuku is to be seen perhaps once in a lifetime. A symbol of things both beautiful and rare. It has an important place in tikanga Maori, and to compare a visitor to a kotuku is a compliment of highest order.

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