Sonya Masoe


With the start of a new year, our MATES team needs to find a new batch of eager Uni students, willing to give back to the community through mentoring.

Sonya Masoe, MATES programme manager, gives us the low-down on what's involved with becoming a MATES mentor…


How do you recruit mentors?

We begin recruiting mentors at the end of each year. We advertise on social media, contact mentors from the previous year, and have posters up at the Universities. Sometimes we contact lecturers and ask to share about MATES with their students.

Mentors need to provide their transcripts from the previous year - we don’t take any first-year students. All prospective mentors are vetted through police checks, reference checks and interviews. Before MATES starts for the year we will do mentor induction and training.


Where do you recruit them from?

All our mentors are required to be in tertiary study. We accept students from any tertiary institution, although we mainly get mentors from Auckland Uni. Recently we’ve had a number of students from AUT applying as well.

We also partner with the Educ200 course at Auckland Uni, which has MATES Junior mentoring as part of its course requirements, getting roughly 15-20 mentors through them each year. Sometimes we get mentors who have previously been MATES mentees themselves. 


How many mentors do you need to find?

MATES Junior needs to find 16 mentors per school; Junior mentors are matched with mentees one-to-one.

MATES mentor training 2020MATES Senior supplies each school with seven mentors. Senior Mentors are matched with mentees at a ratio of around one-to-two.

In total we have about 106 mentor positions to fill each year.

What qualities are you looking for in a mentor?

The best mentors are the ones who genuinely want to see young people succeed and develop.

Some mentors haven’t had much experience working with young people before, but we’ve found that if they really want to be there and help young people, they end up becoming great mentors. Another important thing is that they are reliable and committed.


MATES Mentor training 2020How much of a time commitment does mentoring require?

Mentors need to be available 2-3 hours per week for each young person they mentor. (Mentors can mentor students at more than one school).


MATES mentors are paid, not volunteers – what is the thinking behind this?

We recognise that our mentors are students themselves so it’s only right to pay them for their time, which is very valuable - they juggle a lot while studying.


How do Uni students benefit from being a MATES mentor?

Being a mentor helps with their own personal development and growth. Mentoring young people helps build confidence in the mentors themselves and enables them to practise their leadership and personal skills. Mentors find it a rewarding experience to help guide young futures. It is also valuable work experience.


Mentor training and inductions will take place in mid-late March, ready for the start of MATES in Term 2. If you are interested in becoming a MATES mentor, contact [email protected] 

Become a Mentor