Lesley Max pioneered the Family Service Centre concept in New Zealand in 1992, beginning with the Papakura Family Centre, which was opened by Governor-General, Dame Cath Tizard. It is a place where parents can visit a Plunket nurse, see counsellors, social workers, get budgeting advice, take their children for hearing and vision checks, attend parenting courses and enrol their children in preschool education. It is a non-threatening, inclusive environment, now a proven community-based wrap-around service for low-income families, which is now operating in six communities around New Zealand. 

The HIPPY programme was also launched in New Zealand in 1992.

The Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) is a home-based early childhood education scheme that helps parents set their children on the path to success in school and life. Parents are mentored to work with their children for 15 to 20 minutes a day for five days a week, 30 weeks of the year, for two years. The changes that occur over that time are huge.

Dr Avina Lombard, HIPPY founder

Professor Avima Lombard pioneered the programme in Israel in the late 1960's, after extensive research into the effectiveness of a home-based intervention involving mothers and their pre-school children from educationally disadvantaged sectors of society.

After Lesley Max heard about HIPPY, she visited Prof. Lombard in Israel and talked about bringing the programme to New Zealand. Prof. Lombard visited NZ and trained the original HIPPY team, to ensure that the proven methods were not diluted. That story HERE

HIPPY now operates in 40 locations around the country, working with upwards of 3000 families every year.