About Us

Werry Workforce Whāraurau

...is a national centre for Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ICAMH) workforce development.

The Centre is located at the University of Auckland which opened in Poutū te Rangi (March) 2003. The Centre was named after Professor John Werry who was the foundation Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Auckland.  (See Our Beginnings)

We are based at the University of Auckland (Dept. of Psychological Medicine) Grafton campus, and we also have satellite offices in Wellington and Christchurch. 

Our Work

Werry Workforce Whāraurau provides national training and workforce development within the child and adolescent mental health sector.

We are contracted by the Ministries of Health, Education and Oranga Tamariki – through Auckland UniServices Ltd – to grow the capacity and capability of the infant, child and adolescent mental health and addictions workforce. See more…

We work alongside three other Ministry-funded Mental Health Workforce Centres (Te Pou, and Te Rau Ora, Le Va).

Werry Workforce Whāraurau and Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui partner in our joint Clinical Sector Reference Group. This group has an advisory role to ensure we incorporate clinical and sector partnerships, feedback and advice into our work programme.  

Our Aims: Empower the Workforce - Manaaki Mokopuna

Werry Workforce Whāraurau aims to improve the mental health of young people in New Zealand/Aotearoa by:

  • developing the child and adolescent mental health workforce nationally;
  • providing training and resources of a high quality to mental health professionals; and
  • advocating for mental health needs of children, young people and their families/whānau;
  • promoting research in child and adolescent health.

Whanonga Pono (Ngā Pou) - Our Values

Our values we wish to reflect in our work and our way of working are:

  • Aroha – Compassion, empathy, love
  • Kotahitanga – Unity in diversity is strength
  • Rangatiratanga – Leadership
  • Whanaungatanga – Teamwork/Community
  • Manaakitanga – Show respect, generosity and care for others
  • Kaitiakitanga – Stewardship, protection, duty, guardianship
An overarching principle: Respect for and commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi which includes commitment to application of the principles in the actions and everyday practices of Werry Workforce Whāraurau.

Our Staff

Werry Workforce Whāraurau has a highly skilled staff that is multidisciplinary and multicultural and is led by Director Sue Dashfield.

Staff have high levels of knowledge and experience in many areas of child and adolescent mental health including, crucially, the research-based approaches that help young people and the best ways to support the services and staff who work with them.

Werry Workforce Whāraurau keeps track of recruitment and retention issues across the workforce and draws on international best-practice solutions to deal with workforce challenges, from a governmental and system level, down to the support of an individual clinician’s learning.

Programmes to develop youth consumer and family/whānau advisor representation are part of supporting the diverse needs of all those involved in the mental wellbeing of children and young people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Partnerships and collaboration with other agencies that support the workforce, families/whānau and young people are key to ongoing development.

Werry Workforce Whāraurau has been privileged to work with many clinicians, service leaders, teachers and researchers who are passionate about ensuring we provide the best possible care and support to our young people, and we look forward to the next decade of further development.

Our Name: Werry Workforce Whāraurau:

In 2016, ‘Werry Workforce Whāraurau’ emerged as a separate workforce arm of the once combined workforce, research and teaching entity that made up the original Werry Centre.

Kaumatua Rawiri Wharemate, chose the name Whāraurau after consultation with iwi...

Whāraurau is an ancient te reo Māori name for a highly mobile shelter structure used to protect gatherers of titi, the muttonbird.
Constructed according to local conditions and resources, Whāraurau are adaptable, flexible and provide protection. They empower the user and are designed to keep pace with environmental or developmental changes.


It is a concept that resonates with the operations of Werry Workforce Whāraurau in communities around Aotearoa - New Zealand and is reflected in our logo.

Our Beginnings

Professor John WerryThe Werry Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health was launched by the Hon Annette King, Minister of Health, at Waipapa Marae at the University of Auckland in March 2003.

The Centre was named after Professor John Werry who was the Foundation Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Auckland. John is one of the most distinguished academics and researchers in child and adolescent psychiatry in Australasia and is internationally acclaimed. He has been a tireless advocate for child and adolescents with mental health problems in New Zealand for many years.