Great Potentials Foundation is a charitable trust for the promotion of education and parental support.

There is an untapped power that rumbles under New Zealand, like a geothermal power that drives turbines. It is the intellectual power of Maori and Pacific people, that needs to be released to help propel this country back up the league tables
— Dame Lesley Max, Co-Founder, Great Potentials Foundation

We are in communities that need help to unleash the potential of their children and young people at key transition points in their lives.

We do this through life-changing programmes we develop, establish and continue to manage.

Family Service Centres: The Papakura and Takanini Family Service Centres are true hubs, providing integrated health, education and social services to those most in need.

HIPPY (Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters) is a home-based early education programme empowering low-income parents to prepare their 3-5 year old children for success at school, by fostering parents’ skills and confidence as educators.

MATES (Mentoring and Tutoring Education Scheme) addresses the underachievement in education of disadvantaged youth in New Zealand by working alongside schools and the local community to connect Tertiary student Mentor/Tutors with Year 13 and Year 8 students (Mentees)

Great Potentials helps over 5,000 children, young people and families across New Zealand each year.


Co-founded by Dame Lesley Max in 1990, Great Potentials Foundation (earlier the Pacific Foundation) has grown into a leading social agency, well regarded for our programmes, our leadership and our mission to break cycles of disadvantage and unleash potential across New Zealand.

We are committed to increasing positive educational and social outcomes for vulnerable children and families in high-risk communities through our innovative programmes that focus on bridging the knowledge divide and releasing potential.


Well-nurtured children and young people within well-functioning families, contributing to safe communities and a prosperous nation.


Working for and with children, young people and families to relieve suffering, release potential, reduce disparities in New Zealand society, reduce crime and violence and break the cycle of disadvantage.

Our programmes and services work at critical points of transition:

· transition into conscious parenthood (Family Service Centres)
· transition into primary school (HIPPY)
· transition from intermediate to secondary school (MATES Junior)
· transition from secondary school to tertiary education (MATES Senior)