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Pukemanu Centre

19 March 2024

The Pukemanu Centre is run by UC's Child and Family Psychology programme. It provides assessments and interventions on a short-term basis for children and families | whānau not currently receiving support from other agencies. Learn more about the Pukemanu Centre.


The Pukemanu Centre is run by the University of Canterbury's Child and Family Psychology programme.

The Centre provides assessments and interventions on a short-term basis for children and families/whānau not currently receiving support from other agencies.

The Centre is managed by registered psychologists and operates as part of the professional training course for Master’s level students and above, who are currently undertaking advanced post-graduate training in Child and Family Psychology. Students are involved with all Centre activities, working alongside senior registered psychologists. 

Our service is shaped by the principles of:

  • Tika – Honouring our families/whānau
  • Pono – Working with integrity
  • Aroha – Providing empathy and compassion
  • Tautoko – Supporting students in a high-quality learning environment
  • Manaaki – Valuing families/whānau by providing high-quality psychological services


The Centre aims to provide:

  • Early intervention to prevent later problems
  • Evidence-based interventions - informed by sound research, which fits with recognised professional practice and tailored to individual family/whānau situations
  • Strength-based approaches that recognise child and parent abilities
  • Skills parents need to confidently manage in the future

We provide assistance for parents, whānau and caregivers concerned about their child's behaviour, social and/or emotional development. We also offer practical assistance, parenting information, advice and support for parents of children from infancy through to high school age. Our services include:

General Under 5/General Over 5

We provide individual assessment and intervention support to children/teens aged up to 17 years old for a range of behaviours and presentations. These include sleep, anxiety, difficulty with managing emotions, social skills difficulties, learning, toileting, feeding, and concerns with a child’s general development.

Parents can self-refer to this service.

Cognitive Assessment

The purpose of a cognitive assessment is to gain an understanding of the thinking and reasoning skills of children and teens. Often these are required when there are concerns about a child’s learning and behaviour, particularly at school.

Referrals for a cognitive assessment (WISC, WPPSI, WIAT etc.) from a health/education professional are accepted. We are not currently accepting parent referrals for this service.

Group Standard Triple P

Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) is a well-researched and highly evidence-based approach to help parents navigate the ups and downs of raising children. Through Standard Triple P, parents learn a range of strategies and tools to promote positive behaviour in their children as well as to manage challenging behaviour. These include setting clear expectations, using consequences, and fostering open communication with their children.

Standard Group Triple P consists of five group sessions and three individual follow-up sessions via phone. All program resources are provided to parents.

Group Fear-Less Triple P

Fear-Less Triple P helps parents set a good example to their children of coping with anxiety. Parents learn a range of strategies to coach their children to become more emotionally resilient while the child develops their own toolbox of strategies to use in anxiety-provoking situations.

Fear-Less Triple P is currently run as a group and consists of 6 modules. The delivery of Fear-Less Triple P can vary from a one-day workshop to weekly one-hour sessions over 6 weeks. All program resources are provided to parents.

Group Teen Triple P

Are you struggling with a teen talking back, being rude, or not helping around the house? Are you worried about your teen and their social media usage, parties, or peer pressure? Group Teen Triple P provides parents with tips and suggestions to suit the individual needs of each family. Parents also actively participate in a range of activities to learn about the causes of adolescent behaviour problems, setting specific goals, and using strategies to promote skill development, manage inappropriate behaviour and teach emotional self-regulation.

Group Teen Triple P is run throughout the year and consists of four sessions and three individual follow-up sessions via phone. All program resources are provided to parents. 

Please note the Pukemanu Centre criteria:

  • For children aged up to 17 years old (18 years old if they are still in school).
  •  Live within the Canterbury area and can travel to UC for at least one appointment.
  • Mild to moderate needs.
  • The child is not involved with another service or agency.
    • if the child/whanau are involved with another service or agency, a health/education professional must make a referral to the Pukemanu Centre instead of parents/whanau.

We are not able to accept referrals for the following:

  • Individuals 18 years and older.
  • High risk of suicide/harm to self or others.
  • Children/teens with criminal offending, violent behaviour, or persistently engaging in illegal activities.
  • Current Child and Family Psychology students or their children/tamariki.
  • Families currently involved with Family Court proceedings.
  • Current psychotic behaviours.

Are there fees to this service?

The Pukemanu Centre is a free service for children and young people. Donations are welcome and kindly accepted here.

Can parents refer their children/tamariki to the Pukemanu Centre?

Certainly, parents and whanau are welcome to make self-referrals to the Pukemanu Centre if their child isn’t currently receiving support form another professional or agency. However, if their child is already under the care of another agency or service, the referral must come directly from a health professional e.g. Psychologist, GP, Paediatricians, Psychiatrists, Social Worker, Plunket Nurse. We also accept referrals from education professionals e.g. Early Intervention Teacher, School Teacher, SENCO etc.

What types of support does the Pukemanu Centre offer?

We work with a range of behaviours and concerns including sleep, anxiety, school refusal, learning difficulties, mood changes, emotional regulation, and general developmental concerns. We also offer multiple parenting groups throughout the year for a range of ages.

Who will conduct the assessment/intervention with my child?

Most of our assessments or interventions are completed by students and Interns who are in the Child and Family Psychology Program at UC. All our students and Interns are closely supervised by registered Psychologists.

How will my information be used by the students/Interns?

Privacy and confidentiality is strictly adhered to by all students and staff in the Pukemanu Centre/Child and Family Psychology Programme. As part of academic requirements and learning, students and Interns are required to complete written work based on placement reports. These reports are heavily anonymised and are not distributed outside of the Pukemanu Centre/Child and Family Psychology Programme. This is discussed in further detail during the initial meeting with students/Interns.

Will the assessment results be shared with my child’s school or GP?

Once our students/Interns complete their reports, parents are welcome to share these with whom they like. We will not share these reports with external agencies unless we have the parents’ consent.

Will my sessions with the student/Intern be recorded?

Due to the nature of our Centre as a training facility, our students and Interns are required to record sessions with clients which are then reviewed with their supervisors and some Child and Family Psychology Programme academic staff. You may wish to opt out of being recorded at any time during this process. Further information regarding recorded sessions is provided to you by the student/Intern during the initial meeting.

How long can we be involved with the Pukemanu Centre?

Involvement is typically for up to 12 months.

I want my child to be assessed for autism or ADHD. Can the Pukemanu Centre do this?

We do not currently accept referrals for specific autism or ADHD assessments. If you have concerns about your child’s overall development, feel free to make a referral under our General Under/Over 5 pathway which clearly outlines your concerns.

As part of our comprehensive assessments, sometimes autism or ADHD may be ‘flagged’ and in some cases we are able to assess further and diagnose where appropriate.

Can I refer my child to more than one service at the Pukemanu Centre?

No, your child may only be referred to the most appropriate service at one given time. If during assessment we believe that your child is better suited to another service within the Pukemanu Centre, we will discuss this with you. You may refer your child to another service once the initial referral has been completed.

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Thanks to:

  • Sir Campbell and Lady Leita Wylie Foundation for their generous support
  • Anne and Betty Wignall for their generous support and vision
  • The UC Foundation for their advice and administrative support
  • The family of the late Trudi Mackay for donations of play equipment


Contact us

Regular hours

Refer below for contact hours.

Special hours

Pukemanu Centre hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

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