A MATES Senior mentor of 2022, Cameron, says she wouldn’t have made the mistakes she did at school if she had a mentor to show her different paths. Below is an interview with Cameron in which she reflects on her experience as a MATES mentor.


Tell us about your background

My name is Cameron. I am currently studying for a Bachelor of Science at the University of Auckland, majoring in Anthropological Sciences and Biology (Zoology). I come from a refugee background. My parents were boat people escaping the collapse of Saigon after the Vietnam War. I am a MATES Senior mentor at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate.


Why did you join MATES to be a mentor?

I did not have a good time during and after high school. My migrant mother did not have the skills to help me navigate school or life after high school. I felt there were gaps that school could not fill, e.g., finance, renting/accommodation, making friends, putting together a CV, etc.

MATES Senior workshop 2022

I aspired to be a mentor to those from migrant or low socioeconomic backgrounds, as I lacked guidance when I was younger. I also wanted to try something new and gain work experience that could open doors to different career paths.


What did you enjoy during the MATES sessions this year?

I have enjoyed MATES immensely this year, seeing the changes in the students and how their dreams change or remain unchanged. I am inspired by their dedication to their goals and their openness to the world that awaits them. 

I picked up a lot of new group games that the mentees enjoyed. MATES has given me a lot of confidence in my communication abilities. I also gained a better understanding of what young people today are facing and their concerns for the future. 


Was there a special and/or unforgettable moment during your time with MATES?

The MATES Senior Graduation Dinner! Seeing them finish their school life with such high energy was terrific. I was sad to see my mentees say goodbye, but I am happy for the life ahead of them. 

MATES Senior Graduation 2022


I am jealous that MATES was not available to me in school. I would have never made the mistakes that I did if I had a mentor to show me different paths that I could take or the services available when I needed help. This work is needed more than ever.


We are now accepting Mentor applications for 2023.

MATES has over 100 mentor positions to fill each year. If you are a reliable, committed tertiary student who genuinely wants to see young people succeed and develop, MATES would be a rewarding experience for you.

Mentors need to be in tertiary study in Auckland, at least 2nd Year, with transcripts, references, and a clean Police record. We accept students from any tertiary institution.

To find out more, or to apply, please click here.