Great Potentials Foundation’s Family Service Centres address the need for easily accessible, integrated social services, health and education for families and children within low-income communities. 

Our Family Service Centres are “one-stop shops” that promote safety, well-being and learning for children, and the well-being of their families through support, counselling, education and advocacy. Our aim is to achieve maximum positive change for the greatest number of children and families within these communities. 

This model was devised and developed by Great Potentials Foundation’s Lesley Max in 1992.  Early results were so promising that the Government funded five more Centres which are now celebrating their 21st birthdays – a testament to the value of this integrated approach to assisting families to move forward. 

We know from research, such as the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, how critical it is for a child’s future that they develop self-control, which requires parents to learn how to assist them, often by moderating their own behaviour.  We often wonder what families do in all those many New Zealand communities that do not have access to a friendly, professionally-staffed Centre like ours in Papakura and Takanini, which can provide such a range of assistance in a low-key way and help families on to a positive pathway.  It is our Foundation’s goal to develop further such Centres where they are needed, as and where funding can be secured.

Papakura Family service centre

The Papakura Family Service Centre has been providing valuable services to the families in Papakura since 1992, and is Great Potentials’ flagship Centre.  It provides an early learning centre, the HIPPY programme, Plunket, social work and advocacy, counselling, parenting, budgeting and Social Workers in Schools. 

A snapshot of success at
Papakura Family Service Centre

“It’s so cool knowing that you guys are there to support me, I know I’m not alone, you have helped me and M so much”. 

The M-U family have a long relationship with the Papakura Family Service Centre, starting back in 2008 when Mum enrolled her eldest son in our Early Learning Centre.  Since then, she has had two more children who have attended our early learning centre, the youngest being a four year old boy called M. 

M showed behavioural problems. He was a very angry young boy who could be quite violent and aggressive towards both adults and children.  “His outbursts were quite scary and we needed to find out what was triggering them so that we could help M to control his aggression,” said the centre’s team leader, Lisa. M was closely monitored by the ELC team and during this time his behaviour continued to worsen. 

Lisa worked with Mum on developing good strategies with the goal of being consistent all round.  After several months of hard work, we began to see an improvement in M’s behaviour. Lisa steered Mum towards parenting programme, Triple P, tutored by Alison within the Family Service Centre.

“I encouraged Mum to keep monitoring sheets on M’s aggressive outbursts to see if there was a pattern to his behaviour.  We then dealt with the behaviour under specific topics.  I used Triple P tip sheets with her and we came up with strategies to manage the aggressive behaviour,” said Alison.

As the weeks progressed, M’s behaviour continued to improve. His wider family also began to notice positive changes in his behaviour.  Mum’s journey through the Triple P programme also generated healing conversations within the whole family.  Mum has become much more confident and is able to deal with M’s challenging behaviour in a much more positive manner.

Mum enrolled in HIPPY with M in June this year, and says that HIPPY has helped her relationship with M in that “I got to know him in another way”. It is helping them to bond and have fun learning together. Mum’s tutor observed, “I noticed how calm and confident Mum was with M.  She responded so positively to M and I could see that he was really enjoying the interaction and feedback from his Mum.”

We are truly amazed at the progress M and his Mum have made over the past year.  Mum has showed determination, persistence and dedication in her efforts to help M with his behaviour issues.

For more information please contact:

09 299 6610
14 Maurice Street
Papakura, Auckland  

Takanini Family service Centre

In January 2014 we opened the doors to our warm and colourful new Centre, established in partnership with the Counties Manukau Kindergarten Association, whose superb early learning centre provides a beautiful environment for the local children.  Over 700 people to date have benefited from what is available to them:  HIPPY, counselling, family therapy, parenting, budgeting, adult literacy and numeracy, and a playgroup.

One of these families is Joseph's. Joseph, a father of 25, has spent extensive periods of time in prison and associating with gangs, and who now has sole responsibility for his four youngest children, came to the Takanini Family Service Centre desperate for help. He shared his story this year, which you can watch  here. Joseph has made great strides in providing a stable environment for this children, with ongoing assistance from staff at the Takanini Family Service Centre.

Our Services

HIPPY - Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters

As part of the HIPPY programme you work with your child in your home for 15 minutes a day, 5 times a week. Your child will build knowledge in maths, reading and writing, while developing their cognitive, creative and social skills. This means your child is better prepared to start primary school. To find out more contact Glenda on 09 974 4719 ext 401, 021 882 732 or email glendad@familyservicecentres.org.nz. 

Playgroup: Tuesdays - 10am-12pm and Thursdays - 12:30pm-2:30pm (not on during school holidays)

This group is for under fives, and a parent or guardian must remain with the child. A gold coin donation is gratefully received, which goes towards providing fresh fruit for the children. Complimentary coffee, tea and water is provided. 

We are running a parenting programme called Incredible Years on Thursday mornings, 9.15am-11.45am starting on the 2nd March and running until 15th June. Childcare will be available.

If you want to know more please feel free contact us via phone, email or Facebook.

Communication for Life (Adult Literacy) with the Manukau Institute of Technology

We provide a small, friendly class to improve your English reading, writing and maths.We use material from our everyday lives such as forms, letters, bills, newspaper articles, notices and magazines. Please contact us for more information about course dates and to register your interest. 


We have two experienced counsellors who will listen in confidence to your deepest concerns, and offer you a pathway to better understand yourself and others, free from worrying about the future or the past. 

Parenting Programmes

The Triple P (Positive Parenting Programme) gives parents simple and practical advice to help them confidently manage their children's behaviour, prevent problems developing and to build strong, healthy relationships. Contact us to register your interest for the next classes. 

Seasons for Growth

Seasons for Growth is a peer support programme which helps people of all ages to understand and cope with the changes they experience when a significant loss occurs. The programme is bases on an understanding that working through grief involves four tasks and uses the imagery of the four seasons. The programme is a safe and proven way to help people to think about, and for some, come to terms with their life changing experiences. 

Legal Clinics

We host regular legal seminars on varying topics. These range from neighbourhood disputes to consumer rights to employment law. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for upcoming seminars.

Contact Us

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For more information please contact:

09 974 4719
8 Oakleigh Avenue, Takanini

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