Simple philosophy

Big Buddy mentoring works on the simple philosophy that boys need good male role models in their lives to become good men. For many reasons, lots of boys in New Zealand don’t have a father and while mothers do a courageous job raising boys alone, they can’t model maleness. And above all else, boys learn through modelling!

Showing up

That’s where Big Buddy comes in. Since 1997 we have carefully screened hundreds of volunteer men from the community and matched them with fatherless boys aged 7-14. Big Buddy mentors spend at least 2-3 hours a week with their Little Buddies, doing whatever they both enjoy – usually simple stuff like walking on beaches, throwing a ball around, making things and visiting places. The important thing is that the Big Buddy shows up regularly in a boy’s life and take a real interest in him.

Outstanding results

The idea is simple but profound. Having a Big Buddy:

  • Increases a boy’s self-esteem
  • Improves his relationships
  • Helps him do better in school
  • Means he’ll be less likely to get into trouble
  • Will improve his employment options

The statistics on positive mentoring are clear and compelling. It’s about making a world of difference to fatherless boys’ lives – one visit at a time.





Big Buddy Foundation born

On June 26 the Big Buddy Foundation was launched at a gala event in Downtown Auckland. Over 180 guests helped celebrate the launch of the foundation, which was started by Big Buddy trustees Travis Field and Mark Talbot, with help from Andrew Cook and BB supporter Roger Moses. The aim of the independently-managed BBF is to create a capital fund of $10m by 2020. Returns from this fund will provide the majority of operational funding for Big Buddy, increase its reach to more fatherless boys and underpin the financial stability of the organisation.

The foundation was officially launched at the Nathan Club in Britomart by Prime Minister John Key and Willie Apiata VC. It was a knock-out success – in large part due to the moving speech by one of our not-so-little Little Buddies, Taraia Whatuira-Henderson (17). Supported at the event by his mother, Sarah Henderson, and his Big Buddy, Hans Ottow, Taraia overcame his shyness to move many of the audience to tears as he talked about the death from suicide of his father when he was just 10, and what it has meant for him to have BB Hans in his life for the last six years. It was particularly moving when the next speaker – Willie Apiata (NZ’s only Victoria Cross holder) – first acknowledged Hans as the “real hero” and then pointed to Taraia’s mum, Sarah, and said: ‘‘That is his hero in his life, she has been there everyday, every minute of his life, supporting through his own journey, as my mother did for me and as she does to this day.’’ Well said that man!

Willie Apiata VC and Taraia Whatuira-Henderson.


Grant Fox, Travis Field, Mark Talbot, BB CEO Richard Aston, Jeff Meltzer and Roger Moses at the launch of the Big Buddy Foundation.


How can you help?

Step up

We aim to enrich fatherless boys’ lives – one visit at a time. To do this, we need good men to step up as mentors. Would you consider becoming a Big Buddy? You’d get to do fun things like kicking a ball round a park, walking on the beach or fishing – maybe just listening to a boy talk. You’d make a real difference to one boy’s life. If it’s not the right time for you, maybe you know someone who would be a good Big Buddy. Tell him we need him – please Tap a Mate.


The other way to help Big Buddy is to donate. Only 9% of our funding comes from Government, so we rely on the generosity of funders, sponsors and donors to support our work. The more funding the we get, the more matches we make and that’s always our goal. If you can help – or know someone who can – please Donate.

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