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The philosophy of this programme is that addiction has a cause, course, and a predictable outcome. Also, that recovery from addiction(s) is possible. Recovery is not just abstinence or modification, but it involves learning to live life constructively, without addictions.

At Te Nikau we believe that addictive behaviours have their roots primarily in life issues (although other factors may contribute). Addictions are used as a life coping mechanism. Therefore life issues need to be dealt with, and new, constructive living skills learned.

We see people with addictive behaviours as people. Their addictions have been coping mechanisms, and do not define who they are. They can become free of their addictions, and although they will learn and grow as people throughout their lives, they will not always be in recovery.

Life circumstances preceding addiction(s), and the consequences of addiction(s), affect the whole person. Recovery means not just to be free from addiction, but to be personally free. Without being personally free, cross-addiction, or transfer of addiction is likely. Recovery involves dealing with and developing each area of self, including thoughts, beliefs, mental health, emotional health, physical health, and spiritual health, as all parts of a person interact.

In our experience, people with addiction often have more than one addictive behaviour at a time, or may transfer addictive behaviours, therefore we address all addictions concurrently, including nicotine addiction.

Our belief is that recovery happens as the individual takes up responsibility for their choices in recovery. We can provide insight, counsel, teaching, structure, love, acceptance, and opportunities, but lasting change will not happen unless the person chooses to action, and respond to those things. This is reflected in the words we use. Rather than treatment, treatment centre, patient, or client, we use training centre, learning, and student. Rather than 'slip' to define lapse or relapse, we use 'choice to use my addiction again'.


Te Nikau's ethos is founded in Christianity. There is a spiritual, personal, and practical framework for living found in relationship with God, and Christian principles. Together with a professional understanding of people and addiction, and a structured 'family' environment, we work with people, towards their recovery. As such we are able to provide a programme for those who desire that their Christian worldview is taken into account in their recovery process, and for those who are open to a positive alternative (to addiction) lifestyle based on Christian principles.

Old tree in the Te Nikau grounds