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The 2016 South Island forum in Dunedin took off in fine form on Monday 21st November 2016 and lucky for us the weather was particularly warm and gave much excitement for the upcoming summer. Following the earth quake in Kaikoura, the south island workforce came from Christchurch, Invercargill and Dunedin to participate.
Te Roopu Tautoko ki te tonga, the dedicated Māori gambling harm service in Dunedin welcomed participants with some true southern hospitality. The forum commenced with whakatau and karakia and a gracious reply given by Chris Watkins of Salvation Army Oasis Gambling service.  
Our keynote speakers were unable to join us in person this time however with the brilliance of technology we were able to Skype our presenters into the forum. Witi Ashby in his final presentation spoke about the risks and dangers for young people and suicide, he introduces risk factors also present for problem gamblers and observations of family and community. We were later joined by Haydee Richards, Senior peer support advisor for Pheonix in South Auckland, gave first hand experience of co-existing problems and the grip of gambling addiction when coupled with methamphetamine addiction. Robust discussion and Q&A ended the day with everyone excited about the learnings and opportunities the forum presented.
Ministry infrastructure services are busy planning the National forum agenda where we look forward to meeting again in March 2017.     


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