The Youth Mentoring Network


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Efeso Collins | Fuimaono Tuiasau – two distinguished former NZYMN trustees

It was a very sad coincidence, that the iconic Catholic church in Otahuhu - where the family funeral service for Efeso Collins was held on March 1 following his huge public farewell in Manukau the previous day, was later the venue for a requiem mass for Fuimaono Tuiasau, on March 13.

Both Efeso and Fuimaono had provided generous and memorable contributions as NZYMN trustees, then continued to be actively involved in Youth Mentoring. Fuimaono retained formal connections via the MATES programme, while Fa’anānā Efeso who had provided past mentor training for NZYMN together with his wife Vasa Fia, is already on our permanent record, thanks to his written contributions to training materials.     

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith is a Biblical quote from Fuimaono’s funeral sheet, that applies equally to both these extraordinary sons of Samoa. Efeso was a totally consistent and remarkable exemplar of Tautua – Samoan culture’s paramount leadership value of Service, while Fuimaono’s identical capacity to use words to balance strength with sensitivity was also memorably noted – How to be powerful and move gently in the world.  

Efeso will be forever associated with Otara, while Fui attended Onehunga High School with GM Joy Eaton – who later joined NZYMN chair Ann Dunphy, in teaching at Fes’ beloved Tangaroa College.

Reproduced below in tribute to them both, is the poem recited by Karlo Mila at Efeso’s farewell on 29 February 2024

Beyond the Reef Son of the Southside, Infant of Ōtara, there will be churches heaving with hymns, despair in the corner dairies, tears in the eyes of teachers, disappointed blessings in the mouths of preachers, school children singing laments, community boards crying, I hear the haka of Tangaroa College a stampede stamping with anger and pride, teenagers looking up from their devices, learning your name for the first time, a whole community reeling, united in a singular feeling: grief. 

Tuakana of the Pasifika Community: Every Facebook friend has a selfie with you, because you were not a selfie, you were community, collective, in the village of the migrant dream. Presidential among your peers, the next wave… And among unprecedented upward mobility, you pulled with all your might, the ones we might leave behind. Reading the pedagogy of the liberated, leading a dreaming fono. 

Mentoring many: connecting us, repping us, collectivity in your bones, justice in your stride. By us, with us, for us. Without compromise. Pakeke of Parliament, you deserved to stand upright there, voice of the voiceless, heralding the hushed into hallowed halls. You dared to Maya Angelou “rise”. Taking that Moana Jackson deep breath, before you exercised so many acts of courage. You reached beyond the boundaries that racism set for us. You swam beyond the safe, blessing the sharks that circled around you, death threats, race bait, white supremacist hate.

For us, it is a dangerous democracy, but still you pursued that perilous pathway to power, facing powerful push-back, racist resistance, old-boys clubs-clubbing, the back-stab of our own machetes, a hair’s breadth away. too close for comfort. A heart would break, to walk up that steep city street so distressed with stress. A heart would break. And yet you found the channel that would take you past the the reef, where others fear to go, you found flow. 

With your beloveds, braved the waves, entered the open sea, in which we find ourselves free, where we remember the ocean in us, ancient mariners, expert navigators, sailing our salty pathways to each other, expansive as the largest body of water in the world. I wish for our children to meet each other there, and never know, how small they wanted us to be. 

All of us called to be more, voyage further, pursue ambitious service, in your wake. Son of Sāmoa, Child of Aotearoa, there will be a karanga called in exuberant welcome - an unwavering voice called to calling those who’ve passed, to the other side, past the Pōhutukawa, from the jumping off place across ancient ocean roads, the journey to Pulotu, Hawaaiki, heaven, entering the multidimensional lagi where your people sing with fragrant flowers and festive lei, celebrating. 

Man of faith, a true servant of Christ, devout Christian, a soul of salvation, returning home. Whetūrangitia. You become the ancestor we always knew you were.


Training workshops this quarter - April, May, June 2024

Strength-based Skills for Youth Mentoring workshops

We launched this exciting new workshop in February and have delivered two of them to-date. The feedback has been outstanding:

“awesome workshop - got to learn a lot and see different approaches”

“reinforces the privilege I have to walk alongside our young people”

“I absolutely loved the day and took away several strategies to help me in my work”

“we need more workshops like this!”

This workshop is running in New Plymouth, Dunedin and Whangarei this quarter and there are still plenty of places available so register online now.

  1. New Plymouth - 18 April 2024. Register here
  2. Dunedin - 23 May Register here
  3. Whangarei - 20 June Register here

Learn more about this workshop


Foundational Skills in Youth Mentoring (MentorPlus) workshops

Our ever popular 2-day MentorPlus workshop is being held in Auckland and Christchurch this quarter. This workshop focuses on the foundational skills required to be an effective mentor to young people. Whether you’re new to mentoring or looking to refine your skllls, this workshop promises valuable takeaways. 

  1. Auckland - 7 and 8 May 2024
  2. Christchurch - 29 and 30 May 2024

Register online now

Upskilling Young Kaimahi initiative - successfully launched

Training and development workshops for young people supporting young people 

The Government’s Youth Plan, launched at the INVOLVE 2023 conference, outlined targeted support for young people. As part of this work the NZ Youth Mentoring Network alongside Ara Taiohi have created a workshop that aims to upskill young people in youth development and mentoring.

In March we ran our first 2 day session, working with over 90 university students who are involved in a project to support Year 13 students on their pathway to tertiary study. The workshop encouraged a deep understanding of Mana Taiohi, the youth development framework and the uptake of effective mentoring skills. It was a really positive start to our collaboration with Ara Taiohi, and we are looking forward to working with other groups of young people around the motu.  

Read more:  Upskilling Young Kaimahi flyer

2024 Training schedule - registrations are now open for all workshops

 We are pleased to announce our schedule of public workshops for 2024. We will be running:

  • four foundational skills mentoring workshops (MentorPlus), and
  • nine Strengths-based skills for youth workshops. 

Note: Further workshops may be added to our schedule based on demand. 

Registrations are now open for all 2024 workshops.  To register, click on the link next to the workshop you wish to attend.  


Training event


Register online

29 February

Strengths-based mentoring skills

South Auckland

Register here

21 March

Strengths-based mentoring skills 


Register here


Foundational mentoring skills (MentorPlus)


New date to be confirmed

18 April

Strengths-based mentoring skills 

New Plymouth

Register here

7 - 8 May

Foundational mentoring skills (MentorPlus)


Register here

23 May

Strengths-based mentoring skills


Register here

20 June

Strengths-based mentoring skills


Register here

25 July

Strengths-based mentoring skills 


Register here

22 August

Strengths-based mentoring skills


Register here

10 – 11 September

Foundational mentoring skills (MentorPlus)

Wellington (Lower Hutt)

Register here

19 September

Strengths-based mentoring skills

Palmerston North

Register here

12 – 13 November

Foundational mentoring skills (MentorPlus)


Register here

21 November

Strengths-based mentoring skills


Register here



Registrations now open for our new Strengths-Based Skills for Youth Mentoring workshop

We are excited to bring you this brand new workshop in our Sharing the Kaupapa series. This new workshop is all about exploring strengths-based approaches in Youth Mentoring

In this new workshop our aim is to:

  • increase depth in understanding the strengths-based philosophy
  • identify the relevance of a strengths focus in youth mentoring
  • shift youth mentoring practice and the language we use with and about young people to become increasingly strengths-based and mana-affirming
  • explore a reflective process to guide change (the Column Tool)
  • practice 12 strengths-based skills
  • build even stronger youth mentoring networks, and of-course
  • have fun!

Who should attend?

This workshop is for people who work with young people, including: mentors, mentor programme providers, youth workers, educators, school counsellors, pastors, central and local government agency staff and community workers.

By bringing these workshops to the regions once again, we hope to strengthen regional and national networks in the well-established youth mentoring community.

Registration fee

There is a registration fee of $150 inclusive GST and booking fee. Catering is included and you will also receive a comprehensive workbook to take back to work with you.

Register online now:

Registrations are now open for our first two workshops:

1. South Auckland:  29 February 2024. click on link to register:

2.  Wellington: 21 March 2024. click on link to register:

Recognition in the King’s Birthday Honours list

It was something special to see youth mentoring recognised in the recent King's Birthday Honours list.

Ms Ann Dunphy , Chair of NZYMN, was acknowledged as a Member of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM). The citation highlights her work as a leading educator and her long service in the drive to promote effective and safe mentoring in Aotearoa. Ann is taking this opportunity to spread the good word about intentional youth mentoring and the value of NZYMN.

We also acknowledge our good friend and facilitator Rod Baxter has been awarded an Officer of NZ Order of Merit (ONZM). This recognises his long service in supporting youth and youth workers. It also recognises his current work as CEO of the Prince’s Trust Aotearoa.

This year's Honours list also acknowledges the work of a former NZYMN trustee Frank Solomon and his wife Judy. Although this citation focusses on their current work in age care, we know that Frank and Judy were pivotal in the establishment of the Solomon Group, a group of training establishments that help youth transition from school to work. 

Congratulations and thank you for your outstanding mahi and dedication.

Ten pieces of advice for the teachers of young brown scholars, by Dr Michelle Johansson

1. Raise the bar. Don't dumb it down because they are brown, respect them enough to expect their best, and when they bring to you less, say THIS is not good enough, not YOU are not good enough. They've been told that enough and it's rough and they're tough, but the stuff that they're made of is enough.

2. BELIEVE unfailingly in their limitless potential. They will look in your eyes and know if you are lying.

3. Feed them. Literally. Feed them. Feed their minds, feed their mouths and feed their hunger for justice. Break bread with them and remember that when you take communion a covenant is made and there was a promise in that supper, that blood shed and shared means sacrifice.

4. Laugh. Laugh at yourself. But not at your jokes. Your jokes are dry but you are funny - And in laughter there's power; and in humour there's humility - and this ranks higher than their academic standing or rank score - it is more.

5. No one ever changed the world by yelling at it. Fear might change their behaviour but respect will change their mind.

6. Know that you are in the presence of warriors. They have fought. There are fighting. There are battles behind their eyes; and you cannot possibly understand the arms they bear, the scars they wear. Don't make the classroom another trek behind enemy lines. Sometimes they need a soft place to land, a safe space to stand, someone willing to understand. And if this is not the lesson you planned? perhaps it is the lesson YOU need.

7. Be the grown up and own up when you're wrong, be strong enough to fail sometimes, to ask for help sometimes. Be the mistake maker, the risk taker, give them permission to do the same. Be fallible, be malleable - take the shape of the tool that's needed coz ako means that if they’re not learning then you’re not teaching and if nothing ever changes, then nothing ever changes.

8. When they rage at you - and often they will coz often they're fill up and fed up with their lives and they throw words like knives at your feet - don't throw them back. Pick those knives up and see them for what they are. Not weapons thrown to hurt YOU but to relieve THEM. They could not carry them anymore. And you? Pick the knives off the floor, throw them out of the door and begin again.

9. Defend them. Inherent in their postcode. You will hear stories of failure that's prevalent in the pigment of their skin and Don't let that shit happen on your shift. It is your duty to tell a new story.

10. Stand WITH them and FOR them and BY them. Speak with them and for them. See them and know them for who they are. Hold them - in your arms, in your thoughts, in your prayers.

Don't let go.
Fight for them.
And keep fighting.
They are worth it.
And If you back them when they're 15?
They will have your back for life.

Youth Mentoring Resources - fun activities to bring to your mentoring sessions

When you are stuck for an idea on what to do with your mentee (young person) at your next meeting then this repository of activities is a great place to start. It covers a wide range of areas including: communication; relationship building; positive attitude and identity; culture and diversity and academic support. Thank you to the University of Auckland, the Great Potentials Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation for making this repository of activities freely available for everyone to use in their mentoring sessions.

Click on the following link to access these activities:

International Research from The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring

By Jean Rhodes, Ph.D.
Two unexpected ways to strenghten mentor-mentee relationships.
Forging strong, enduring mentoring relationships depends on many factors, including empathy, proximity, and shared interest.  But here are two research-based tips that might be helpful to mentors...Read more