Referrer Information

Higher Ground Certification

Higher Ground holds Certification pursuant to section 26 of the Health and Disabilities Services (Safety) Act 2001.

Characteristics of Service

Higher Ground provides an 18-week residential recovery programme for people with a dependency to alcohol or other drugs. The programme aims to assist residents to improve social and psychological well being and to maintain abstinence from alcohol and other drug use. Higher Ground is committed to providing quality treatment programmes within a cohesive therapeutic, financial and ethical framework.

  • Clients progress through a continuum of care.
  • Comprehensive Pre-admission Assessments
  • Residential Therapeutic Community
  • Facilitated Group Work
  • Individual Counselling
  • Comprehensive Continuing Care programme


Higher Ground believes that all New Zealanders have a right to a life free of alcohol or other drug dependency.

Programme principles

Higher Ground provides rehabilitation programmes that are based on 12 Step recovery principles.

Higher Ground believes the spiritual dimensions of honesty, open mindedness, willingness, faith, hope, respect and generosity are the foundations of healing and new life.

  • Higher Ground emphasises that clients need to take individual responsibility for their recovery.
  • Higher Ground designs its programmes in a way that ensures no overt or covert discrimination takes place.
  • Higher Ground acknowledges the special position of Maori in New Zealand and continues to develop programmes that assist Maori to achieve their full potential.

Programme Goals:

Higher Grounds programmes aim to:

  • maintain a supportive environment
  • liaise with referral agents
  • provide comprehensive assessments of clients
  • design and implement individual treatment plans for clients
  • provide effective interventions to members of Maori and Pacific cultures
  • refer to medical, psychiatric, legal and social welfare agencies where appropriate
  • maintain a health education programme especially on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C
  • provide counselling for family members and significant others.
  • The programme is staffed 24 hours per day. During normal work hours, trained Counsellors implement the different aspects of the therapeutic programme, including facilitating group and individual counselling.

Outside of the normal working hours supervisors ensure the ongoing safety and therapeutic environment are maintained.

Complimentary Services

Higher Ground maintains functional relationships with a number of independent health care/social service providers including medical practitioners, physiotherapists, dentists, social workers, counsellors and medical laboratory staff.

Higher Ground maintains functional relationships with law enforcement personnel and legal professionals including probation officers, lawyers, bailiffs and judges. Higher Ground facilitates referrals as required by these services.

Eligibility Criteria

Clients are admitted to the service only after a comprehensive assessment process that ascertains the programmes suitability to the clients needs. Referrals are made for clients for whom another service may offer a more appropriate service.

Pre-admission Contact

The client or referrer contacts the Higher Ground Admissions Workers. There is a brief ‘over the phone’ interview with the client to assess programme suitability. On the basis that the programme appears matched to the client, an appointment is made for a ‘face to face interview.

The client is encouraged to bring Family/Whanua/Significant Other to the interview. The ‘face to face’ interview is more comprehensive and at the end of this process the Admissions Worker will provide a clear recommendation for the client.

In a situation where the Higher Ground programme is not suitable for the clients needs a recommendation will be given as to what service would be appropriate.

On the condition that the Higher Ground programme can meet the needs of the client the Admissions Worker will commence with the steps necessary to prepare the client for entry. This includes waiting times for admission, detoxification requirements, safety of client’s environment and what support systems are available.