The aim of Refocus is to enable all whānau and tamariki to become thriving members of their community.

The service offers a tamariki-focused intervention which works with the whole whānau for up to five years.  The team walks alongside whānau who live with inter-generational complexity, and the programme concentrates on breaking cycles which can result in rangatahi entering the youth justice system.

The Refocus team build trust with the tamariki, rangatahi and their whānau in the programme which forms the basis for their success. The relationships formed here give the opportunity to best support clients to effect change.


The Refocus programme is an early intervention which typically works with tamariki aged between 7 and 9 when they enter the programme. Our kaimahi whānau and kaimahi rangitahi support whānau to build relationships, both inter-generationally, with the community and other organisations.

By supporting young people to remain engaged in education, and participate in pro-social activities such as sports and other hobbies, the programme creates opportunities for them to develop awareness of the importance of taha wairua (spiritual health), taha hinengaro (mental health), taha tinana (physical health) and taha whānau (family health).

Research has shown that falling out of education early significantly increases a young person’s risk of entering the youth justice system and by helping whānau and tamariki to build resilience, we’re helping to break these cycles.

Referral & waiting list

We take referrals from any statutory or community organisation and families can self-refer. Please click here for the referral form.

As Refocus is a five-year intervention and spaces are limited, there is often a long waiting-list and we cannot guarantee that we can take every referral.

Our staff 

Rudolph Diaz, Kaimahi Whānau, Refocus Team Leader

Rudolph joined the Refocus team at the start of 2017, having been a youth worker for nine years. His experience in this field, alongside his career as a health promoter and time as a truancy officer, provide a solid platform that underpins his practice.

He most enjoys work in the community and he thinks the community centred and long-term nature of the Refocus programme are essential parts of its success.

‘I love being part of the Refocus team and the wider Home & Family team; there’s real synergy between our work and everyone is supportive. The five-year intervention that Refocus offers allows us to see each family’s journey and allows for far deeper work to take place. There is scope to work with the community to provide wraparound support for families.’

Poharama Nopera, Kaimahi Whānau

Poharama recently joined the Refocus team In November 2019. His previous roles consisted of being a Cultural Manager and helping to develop Māori Tikanga Programmes on behalf of NZ Corrections. He was also a Reintegration Worker for inmates being released back into the Christchurch community and was Cultural Advisor for the Rangatahi Youth Court based at the Ngā Hau E Whā National Marae.

“My passion is to help those of our whānau realize their strengths and potential, to overcome everyday challenges that many of them are faced with. To provide them with the tools and the guidance to help them make positive choices and enable healthy and happy outcomes for families.”

Cheyenne Tua, Kaimahi Whānau

Cheyenne joined the Refocus team in December 2019, Cheyenne has experience working within the disability sector as well as working alongside tamariki and whānau. Her studies and experiences have enabled her to gain a strong sense of Bicultural Practice, an in depth understanding of Te Ao Maori and the importance that has on people and practice, with that she brings a passion for empowering others to create positive changes and outcomes for themselves and their whānau.
“I am excited to be coming on board with the Refocus team and look forward to practicing and expanding on existing knowledge and skills. I strive to ensure the work I carry out is mana enhancing and in partnership, therefore, believe it is important when working with whānau that it is them that lead, walking alongside them while working to establish healthy connections and outcomes”.

Certificate in Human Services and Bachelor of Social Work

Stephenie van den Anker - Kaimahi Rangatahi

Steph joined the Refocus team in March 2019. She has a background in personal training and culture performance.

Steph’s passion for community and hauora (health) and brings with her an understanding of Te Whare Tapa Wha, which is greatly valued by the Refocus team. In her spare time, Steph runs a community hauora initiative, where she can engage with whānau, and works on inter-generational health

Luke Penrose - Kaimahi Rangatahi

Luke joined the Refocus team in May 2019 and has a background in support work for adolescents focusing on both mental health and intellectual disabilities. He is driven to make positive, proactive steps in his journey alongside children within Refocus. 

He enjoys adding his values of good communication and active listening to his work, acknowledging the importance of being accepted, understood and heard.