Whanganui Children's Team

Whanganui Children's Team“Whanganui will actively work together to ensure that children have a safe upbringing, with basic needs being met, to allow them to develop and grow to the best of their potential” – Danelle Whakatihi, Whanganui Children’s Team Director

Refer a child

If you are concerned about a child (unborn to 18) you can refer them to the Children’s Team. Referrals to the Children’s Team can be made by agencies, practitioners (e.g. teachers and nurses), friends or the families themselves. We do not accept anonymous referrals and the family must verbally consent to the referral being completed. Read more about referring to Children's Teams here.

To refer a child to the Whanganui Children’s Team:

  1. download and complete the referral form (external link)
  2. download and complete the consent form, with the child's family (external link)

Then drop the completed form off to our office at 133 Wicksteed Street, Whanganui. Alternatively, you can also email or call  (06) 965 8111 for a member of our team to come and collect it. The forms should be in a sealed envelope, addressed to the Children’s Team and marked ‘Private and Confidential’.

Please do not email the referral form with any personal information about the child or family/whānau.

If you have any questions about referring a child to the Children's Team, please email the team at: Whanganui@childrensactionplan.govt.nz

Read the Whanganui Children's Team Child Protection Policy here. [PDF, 2.5 MB]

The Whanganui Children’s Team covers the same area as the Whanganui District Health Board. View a map of the Children’s Team boundaries [PDF, 2.2 MB].

Minister Tolley lauches Whanganui Childrne's TeamWhanganui Children's Team

The Whanganui Children’s Team has been operating since November 2015. Our target is to work with 400 vulnerable children in our first two years. 

These are children who don’t quite reach the threshold for statutory care, but who have multiple and complex unmet needs. The Children’s Team wants to identify these children earlier, and support them before their situation gets worse.

Children’s Teams put the child at the centre of everything we do.  We are not introducing new services but enabling existing ones to work better together.   We are leading the way for a safer and more competent children’s workforce working together to better support vulnerable children.

Minister Tolley lauches Whanganui Children's Team

Professionals and practitioners who've been assigned to work on Children's Teams (Lead Professionals) come from government, non-government and iwi organisations throughout Whanganui. This group includes Jigsaw Whanganui, Whanganui District Health Board, Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority, Family Works, Ministry of Education, Tupoho Iwi and Community Social Services, Te Ora Hou, Te Kotuku Hauora, Whanganui Regional Health Network, Taihape Health Centre, Mokai Patea Services,Te Maru o Ruahine Trust, Police, Ngati Rangi Trust, Infant Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

These people are ready to support vulnerable children and their families, working together with one coordinated plan, around each child.

Pictured left: Minister Tolley, National Children's Director Sue Mackwell and Danelle Whakatihi with their buddies Amy, Annabelle and Jo at the Whanganui Children's Team launch.

Whanganui Children’s Team Director – Danelle Whakatihi

Danelle’s experience in social work, mental health, addictions and disabilities gives her a strong foundation and knowledge of issues faced by vulnerable children and their families.

Danelle comes to the role from the Accident Compensation Corporation where she held several management roles from 2011-2015. Prior to that Danelle  worked for Central Health Ltd and the Wairarapa District Health Board.

Danelle is of Nga Ruahine, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi descent.

To contact Danelle, email: Danelle.Whakatihi@childrensactionplan.govt.nz or call 029 201 4558.

Whanganui Local Governance Group

The Whanganui Children’s Team’s Local Governance Group is comprised of key representatives from the local community, government agencies, non-government organisations and iwi. This group of community leaders ensures the Children’s Team Director has the resources necessary to address the needs of the vulnerable children and their family/whānau across the local community.

Whanganui Local Governance Group members are:

  • Judith MacDonald (Chairperson) – CEO Whanganui Regional Health Network
  • Grace Taiaroa (Deputy Chairperson) - Manager, Te Kotuku Hauora o Rangitikei
  • Jann Marshall - Director of Education Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu (MOE)
  • Tim Metcalfe - Executive Officer of JIGSAW Whanganui
  • Danelle Whakatihi - Children’s Team Director
  • Frana Chase - CEO, Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority
  • Hayden Potaka - Senior Advisor, Te Puni Kōkiri
  • Heather Cox - Youth Services Coordinator Whanganui DC
  • Tony Moore - Lead Community Advisor, Community Investment Agency
  • Iria Pene – Regional Manager Central , Community Investment Agency
  • Susan O’Neil - Acting Area Commander, Police
  • Rowena Kui - Director of Maori Health Services (WDHB)
  • Bev Markham - Operations Manager, Child Youth and Family
  • Coralea Easther - District Manager, Corrections
  • Gloria Campbell - Regional Commissioner, Ministry of Social Development
  • Mark Poppelwell - Service Delivery Manager Taranaki/Whanganui District Courts
  • Jim Berry - Regional Manager Family Works

Whanganui Children’s Team Panel

The Whanganui Children’s Team panel is made up of a range of sector experts and practitioners who are responsible for reviewing referrals, assigning a Lead Professional to coordinate work with the child and their family, and approving and monitoring the progress against the Child’s Plan.

The Whanganui Children’s Team panel members are:

  • Danelle Whakatihi – Children’s Team Director
  • Amanda Gibbons – Practice Leader, Child Youth and Family
  • Marama Cameron – Health Promotion Manager, Public Health Whanganui DHB
  • Gael Clark – Practice Manager, Jigsaw Whanganui
  • Anneke Batelaan – Service Manager, Special Education, Ministry of Education
  • Tracy Matthews – Coordinator, Strengthening Families
  • Lisa Owens – Service Manager, Community Corrections
  • Judy Kumeroa – Manager, Te Ora Hou
  • Gargi Bandyopadyay – Child Adolescent Psychiatrist, Child Adolescent and Mental Health
  • David Montgomery – Paediatrician, Whanganui DHB
  • Paul Baskets, Detective Senior Sergeant, NZ Police