Te Awa Unit

Te Awa Unit is intended for children and young people, usually between school years 7 and 11, in the care of Oranga Tamariki who are placed in the Auckland region and who have high needs at home, in school, and in the community.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Teachers and Kaiako
  • Oranga Tamariki Social Workers
  • Boards

This guidance provides schools, family and whānau with an overview of the Te Awa Unit. The unit can provide assessments of children/young people and also supports in the provision of Te Kahu Tōī, Intensive Wraparound Service.

About the Te Awa Unit

A team of Te Awa Unit – Northern Health School(external link) teachers, psychologists, facilitators, mentors and support staff will work with the young person and can provide two types of services, an assessment service, or an Intensive Wraparound Service (IWS).

Assessment service

The assessment service aims to identify a young person's needs (function of behaviour, education assessment, therapeutic needs, summary report, etc.) and whether these needs can be met locally, from existing services or whether additional intervention is required from Te Awa.

Te Kahu Tōī Intensive Wraparound Service (IWS)

The Intensive Wraparound Service aims to supporting the young person to:

  • learn new skills and ways of behaving
  • develop a healthy sense of personal identity
  • engage successfully in education at a local school
  • develop the skills necessary for building prosocial peer relationships
  • enjoy a successful home life, including developing relationships with whanau and community.

The wraparound service process involves the young person, their family and their team. They meet regularly to agree goals and devise a collaborative plan.

  • The plan will be reviewed monthly, with goals reviewed and new needs prioritised, strategies discussed, and action points agreed to by all participants.
  • Once the plan’s goals have been met, the young person will be transitioned out of the service.
  • For complex cases that require more intensive early planning, Te Awa operates a base classroom (called the Hub) during school terms and between the hours of 9am – 3pm daily.
  • Up to six students work in the classroom area on individual learning programmes. Students also participate in education and individual assessments to better understand their needs while they are also taught strategies to be successful in other settings.

Note that not all young people receiving the service will physically attend the Hub.

Referring a young person to Te Awa Unit

Young people can be referred to Te Awa by Oranga Tamariki Social Workers, or the NGOs Reconnect(external link) and Youth Horizons Trust(external link).

The Ministry of Education Te Kahu Tōī, Intensive Wraparound Service can at times refer to the Te Awa Unit where the young person is in the custody of Oranga Tamariki and would be better suited to this service.

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