Intentional Peer Support Aotearoa New Zealand is connected directly with IPS Central in the USA and are the sole provider of IPS training materials and support in New Zealand.

Mental Health Advocacy Peer Support (MHAPS) and Kites Trust jointly hold the responsibility for IPS in Aotearoa New Zealand.

MHAPS and Kites have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with IPS Central which describes and outlines our responsibilities to further the aims of IPS, promote and grow IPS and assist organisations to adopt the IPS framework and run regular training for peers in New Zealand.

We coordinate and hold the licensing for all New Zealand IPS training and welcome the opportunity to work alongside organisations and individuals with a passion for IPS, mental health & mental wellness, to support them with any needs around training or resources.

Feel free to contact us with any inquiries.

Working With IPS Can Help People To

Develop Greater Awareness of Personal & Relational Patterns
Develop Transformative Relationships
Support & Challenge Each Other
Change Negative Thinking




  • Suzy Avatar

    Suzy Stevens

    • IPS New Zealand Coordinator

    Suzy is the part time coordinator for IPSANZ and works from an office based at Te Ara Korowai in Raumati Beach on the Kapiti Coast where she lives with her partner Rob, and her cat Aly. Suzy’s role includes developing and maintaining relationships, communicating with people and providing information and assistance about IPS, assisting organisations to hold Core Training, supporting the Steering Group, liaising with the directors and staff of IPS Central and generally keeping things up to date. As a dedicated member of the team, Suzy's passion for IPS has evolved over time. Suzy has personal experience of mental distress and has been treated by mental health services. She has worked in the mental health field for more than 25 years, mainly in peer organisations, and is experienced in peer advocacy, peer support, project management and systemic advocacy. Suzy is also is a trained IPS Organisational Trainer and facilitates other trainers to deliver quality courses.

  • Lisa Avatar

    Lisa Archibald

    • IPSANZ Organisational Facilitator

    Lisa has more than a decade of international experience training and supervising peer workers as well as managing peer support and advocacy services. Lisa is fortunate to travel internationally carrying out research, delivering training and facilitating workshops. She is a strong advocate for peer support frameworks and resources, including IPS & PeerZone. Lisa is a qualified facilitator of WRAP, PeerZone, Intentional Peer Support and SafeTALK.

  • David Avatar

    David Hegarty

    • Kites Manager

    David Hegarty is manager at Kites - a peer led mental health organisation based in Wellington, New Zealand. Kites provide a range of services including peer support , a youth peer service, workshops, and training and facilitation. Kites also work to eliminate stigma and discrimination and to ensure equal citizenship for people who experience distress. Kites is proud to be a partner in IPS Aotearoa and to help the spread of IPS as a vessel for social change. With over twenty years’ experience in a variety of roles in mental health, David has worked in the UK, USA and now NZ, and recently became an IPS Organisational Trainer.


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What exactly is IPS?

Intentional Peer Support is a way of thinking about and inviting transformative relationships.

Practitioners learn to use relationships to see things from new angles, develop greater awareness of personal and relational patterns, and support and challenge each other in trying new things.

IPS is unique from traditional human services because:

  • IPS relationships are viewed as partnerships that invite and inspire both parties to learn and grow, rather than as one person needing to ‘help’ another.
  • IPS doesn’t start with the assumption of a problem.  With IPS, each individual pays attention to how we have learned to make sense of our experiences, and then uses the relationship to create new ways of seeing, thinking, and doing.
  • IPS promotes a trauma-informed way of relating.  Instead of asking “What’s wrong?” we learn to ask “What happened?”
  • IPS examines our lives in the context of mutually accountable relationships and communities.  Looking beyond the mere notion of individual responsibility for change.
  • IPS encourages us to increasingly move towards what we want, instead of focusing on what we need to stop doing or avoid.
  • IPS provides a framework from which to build stronger, healthier, interconnected communities.

What are the origins of IPS?

Intentional Peer Support was developed in the 1990s.  Since then, thousands of people in various countries around the world have been trained in the material. Our New Zealand operations are managed by the following team, who also provide and coordinate training.

Intentional Peer Support Aotearoa is coordinated and led by Suzy Stevens and Lisa Archibald.

For more on IPS origins visit the US IPS website at http://www.intentionalpeersupport.org/about/ 

Who can learn IPS?

Intentional Peer Support was originally designed for people who experience mental distress  and who wish to support others.  This includes peer support workers, peer activity centre workers, peer advocates, and anyone who works or volunteers in the peer workforce.

However, over time the IPS framework and training has proved to be useful and appropriate for many other people and roles, including non-peers.  For example, nurses, psychologists, team coaches and managers in the mental health and addiction sector.

How can I or my organisation be a part of IPS?

There are 3 steps to be undertaken:

  1. Arrange a Core Training Event – Core Training is for anyone interested in mutual support and has been widely implemented as foundation training for people working in both traditional and alternative mental health settings.  To find out more about organizing a Core Training – email info@intentionalpeersupport.nz
  2. Practice Co-reflection – This is a practice where people regularly come together to reflect on their relationships using the IPS framework. We are available to provide consultation and mentor organizations practicing IPS to help integrate co-reflection into their workplace culture.
  3. Complete Advanced Training – The Advanced Training is for graduates of Core Trainings who have practiced for some time.  Advanced training is customized to your organization’s specific needs.

How do I arrange training?

Speak to your manager or supervisor to see if they plan to run any IPS Core Training.  If not there may be an opportunity to join in with another organisation’s training event. Note:  this may involve you or your organisation being prepared to pay for your course. To find out about any potential up-coming training contact info@intentionalpeersupport.nz

What does the training involve?

The IPS Core Training is for anyone interested in mutual support and has been widely used as a foundation training for people working in both traditional and alternative mental health settings.

Upon completion of IPS Core Training, people often feel inspired to share the material with others. We welcome this enthusiasm and have developed a system for passing along the content of our Core Training, with a view to spreading IPS. To ensure fidelity, the ‘Train-the-Trainer’ course is a hands-on seminar that prepares and designates IPS Organisational Trainers to teach the Core Content within the organization where they work.

How much does the training cost?

IPS Core Training is usually provided within an organization.  Consequently, the costs can vary depending on each organisation.  If you are a staff member, the parent organisation is likely to pay all the costs.  Otherwise, there will be a charge per person to cover the cost of the venue, facilitator/s. training manuals and refreshments.  Generally, we are able to keep the price of running training reasonably affordable, with typical costs ranging from $100-$200 per person for the whole 5-day training.

Is post-training support provided?

Yes. Organisations are encouraged to provide co-reflection, wither on a 1:1 basis or as part of a group, to support all IPS-trained workers.  Co-reflection is like supervision with some differences such as mutuality and equal responsibility.  (See below for more on Co-reflection).

IPSANZ provides pre and post training support to organisations and facilitators.  This means that people can contact the Coordinator for help, advice and access to IPS resources.

Who are the IPS organisational trainers?

Trainers are peers who have completed the ‘Train the Trainer’ course and are authorised to provide Core Training to other peers.  Having Organizational Trainers within your organisation ensures that IPS is passed along and sustained beyond training, without compromising the integrity of the framework.

What is Co-Reflection?

Co-Reflection is a vital practice whereby people come together to reflect upon the IPS tasks and principles in their relationships.

Similar to peer supervision, co-reflection is a process that we can use to help each other reflect on our practice (how we’re doing what we say we want to be doing).

It is about us creating expertise together through a process of learning, practice and reflection.

It is designed to model the peer support relationship so that we are practicing the principles at all levels of our relationships. If done well, it should lead to increased levels of personal development and to deepening relationships.

Becoming an IPS supervisor or mentor means not only practicing these skills yourself, but using them in communication with others as they learn and develop.

How is Quality Control achieved within IPSANZ?

The concept and core material of IPS was developed by Shery Mead, who lives in the USA with Chris Hansen.

Together they ensure that the IPS training and materials provided in the USA, Canada and NZ are Copyrighted and adhere to quality standards.

Anyone seeking to deliver IPS training must ensure that they are designated trainers and apply to IPS Central to receive approval before commencing.

The training manuals can only be printed via approved bodies and any electronic distribution of them is protected.

Post training, Organisational Trainers complete a feedback form which is used to maintain quality and for research about the efficacy of IPS.

If anyone wishes to include additional material or make any changes to the training, they must negotiate with Shery and Chris.  IPSANZ is the only organization in New Zealand licensed to print and provide manuals and our roles and responsibilities have been agreed directly with the founders of the movement.

At an organizational level, qualified peer workers are encouraged to schedule regular 1:1 and group Co-Reflection sessions, as well as undertaking refresher courses (pending availability), to ensure quality standards are maintained.

Where can I obtain more information?

You can contact the IPSANZ Coordinator at info@intentionalpeersupport.nz

C/- Te Ara Korowai, 1 Weka Rd, Raumati Beach

P O Box 597, Paraparaumu, 5254

Tel: (04) 299 6981

To contact IPS Central go to www.intentionalpeersupport.org



  • Kites_Trust
  • Every session was beneficial. It opened my mind and awareness, and I found everything challenging and inspiring. I enjoyed watching the video role plays and there was opportunity for open discussions.

    Anon Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Support Worker, Christchurch

  • Everything worked well. Even though I was nervous about role plays I felt connected. I think and hope that the untold story will help me make connections that I haven’t been able to do with some peers.

    Anon Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Support Worker, Christchurch

  • The course gave me a greater understanding of what IPS is and how I can apply it. Particularly useful was understanding worldview and how to deal with conflict, connection and reconnection.

    Anon Oasis, Lower Hutt


Interested in learning more?  Have some questions?  Send us a message and one of our busy, hard working coordinators will endeavour be get touch with you soon.

  • Interesting, informative, interactive, thought provoking and challenging (in a good way).

    Irene Robertson Kotuku, Nelson

  • Inspirational learning. Thanks for the opportunity.

    C Knowles Kotuku, Nelson

  • I think the course was wonderful and a great asset to our community in helping to reduce the stigma around mental illness, as we work together towards wellness.

    Malcom Woodhead COMPASS and Kotuku, Nelson

  • Just wonderful that this finally exists and is in action. This gift will help heal many and create a movement of positivity on a global scale.

    Anon Oasis, Lower Hutt

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