Our History

Photo of Our History

Emerge Aotearoa was formed from a merger between two existing NGOs.

Recovery Solutions
Recovery Solutions Group Trust was founded in 1992 under the Charitable Trust Act and became an incorporated Charitable Trust in 1993.

Started by founding Chief Executive John Wade and Wendy McEntegart, Recovery Solutions (then known as Challenge Trust) began life as a single facility with five staff that provided residential services to four mental health clients.  From a forensic mental health nursing background, John saw a gap in services for people who were coming through the justice system and failing to re-integrate into the community.

This was a small organisation with a strong heart, driven by the principle of providing people affected by mental health issues with the opportunity to lead a regular life in the community.  As a consequence, Recovery Solutions always had a strong focus on providing in-community care for clients with complex and high mental health needs.

Exceptional growth occurred as the organisation sought to broaden its geographical and operational footprint while retaining a strong commitment to individual and community well-being.

At the time of the merger Recovery Solutions operated 46 services with 470 employees, and provided services and support to in excess of 2,000 people, servicing the North Island with sites in the Auckland area, Northland, Waikato, Tauranga, Rotorua, Eastern Bay of Plenty and Gisborne.

Richmond New Zealand was established in 1978 to provide community support services for people with diagnosed serious mental illness. Known as Richmond Fellowship NZ, it was one of the first organisations to set up community services and "therapeutic communities" at a time when the deinstitutionalisation of psychiatric hospital services in New Zealand was underway. The first Richmond Fellowship service was Dorset House in Christchurch.

Richmond Fellowship NZ was affiliated with the many organisations worldwide that form the international network of Richmond Fellowship - which was first initiated by Elly Jansen who set up the first therapeutic community in Richmond, Surrey in 1959.

In 2006 Richmond Fellowship New Zealand rebranded as "Richmond New Zealand", having developed into one of the largest national providers of community mental health and disability support services. Its philosophy was based on the belief that people with mental health and disability challenges can live full and rich lives in the community.

Richmond New Zealand was contracted by various Government agencies to provide services and programmes to clients to support them to achieve the best possible quality of life. Richmond New Zealand committed to working with clients to ensure that services were focused on individual needs, and offered the best possible support, for the best possible outcome. In 2008 it signalled its intent to progressively diversify its client base, services and funders - and to actively seek different partnerships with others and on 1 November 2010 Richmond New Zealand Trust Limited ("Richmond") was formed.

Richmond New Zealand Trust Limited was guided by its vision "Partners in Health and Wellbeing". Governed by a Board of Directors, the company had four operating divisions - Northern (based in Auckland), Central (based in Wellington and offering services from Hamilton through to Wellington), Southern (based in Christchurch and covering South Island services) and Shared Support Services. In 2013 it merged with Wellink and in 2015 it purchased Mind and Body.

That’s our history. Together we are greater than the sum of our parts, and we move forward together as
Emerge Aotearoa.