MATES students attend University for a Day

Mentoring and Tutoring Education Scheme addresses the underachievement in education of disadvantaged youth in New Zealand.

MATES intervenes in a young person's education at two key transition points:

the transition from intermediate to high school
(MATES Junior)

the transition from high school to tertiary education (MATES Senior)

The Power of MATES

MATES Senior tutor group

Research shows that involvement in youth mentoring programmes such as MATES lead to youth developing positive behaviour, decreasing disruptive behaviour and building lasting and meaningful relationships.  

MATES Mentors help young students understand their unique talents and skills to enhance their sense of identity and belonging within the various communities they belong to; home, school and the wider community.

See our MATES stats

MATES History

MATES benefits students in many waysMATES Senior was first piloted in New Zealand by Great Potentials in 2002, working with Year 13 High School students to help prepare them for a successful transition to tertiary education.

Based on the tremendous success of the Senior programme, Great Potentials established its MATES Junior programme in 2008, working with Year 8 students to help prepare them for success in high school.

MATES Junior - Year 8

Mentees are Year 8 students at risk of not engaging in secondary school, leaving them exposed to a greatly reduced chance of success in high school and in life.

MATES Senior - Year 13

Mentees are Year 13 students who have the potential to succeed at tertiary study or in further training or employment but may not reach the required level without targeted help. Typically, they are the first in their family to consider tertiary education.

MATES makes a difference

MATES Graduation

Each year MATES works with approximately 200 students from 11 schools across Auckland's low-income communities, with the majority identifying as Maori/and or Pasifika.

MATES is extremely successful at raising the level of aspiration and achievement for high school students attending Decile 1-3 schools, where the majority of the student population come from low income families.

MATES Senior mentees achieve NCEA Level 3 at Far above the national average. 84% of MATES students achieved NCEA Level 3 in 2018 compared to the national average of 58% - and 40% for Decile 1-3 schools.

In June 2018, we conducted a destinations study for MATES Senior Alumni who had graduated in 2016 and 2017:

89% were attending a University
97% were full-time students

“I cannot reiterate enough how this programme has extended, upskilled and provided my students with support to envision, plan and action a university pathway that is suitable for them" - Shauna Eldridge, Deputy Principal, Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate

How MATES Works

Research has shown that a combination of mentoring and tutoring increases academic achievement, raises aspirations, and enhances self-confidence for those at risk of underachieving.  

Mentors are University students who are recruited, trained and supervised by MATES Coordinators.

Mentees are students identified by their teachers as being disengaged or at risk of not realising their personal and academic potentials.

MATES homework session

Mentees are matched with mentors for the academic year. Through a combination of one-to-one mentoring/tutoring and group workshops, mentors help the young students with academic study, numeracy and literacy, guidance on future pathways and provide the listening ear that young people need.

Mentoring pairs meet throughout the year, once a week after school for a two-hour mentoring and tutoring session.

Read our MATES stories

Become a MATES Mentor

Mentee inductionMATES Schools 2020

MATES Senior:

Aorere College

Auckland Girls Grammar

Kelston Boys High School

Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate

Southern Cross Campus

Waitakere College


MATES Junior

Avondale Intermediate

Finlayson Park School

Mangere East School

Papakura Intermediate