Alice sees her son thrive with his Big Buddy Ryno.

A Little Buddy with his mum. - Woman with boy holding flowers

“The older my son became, the more helpless I felt. He was a boy full of fear and I didn’t know what I could do to support him. Then I found Big Buddy”

Little Buddy mum, Alice

Alice’s story

At that stage my partner was still intermittently in our lives, but when my daughter turned two I cut off contact. The situation had become so bad I had to get a protection order and I was determined to bring up my children in a safe environment. Life was very difficult. I didn’t have family in NZ for support and Boshu was continuing to be fearful. He was only comfortable with me and wouldn’t try anything new. He’d set up a frame for himself and stayed in it, never stepping out. I needed help from someone who wouldn’t hurt him and he needed to be around people who encouraged and loved him. So when we received a phone call to say Big Buddy had found a match for Boshu, I knew I had to trust the process.

Boshu was excited but also apprehensive before he met his match, Ryno. Ryno is young, tall, very strong, and has a beard. He laughs loud and talks loud but I could feel he was a kind person and a gentleman. The first time they went out, Boshu kept looking back at me. They fed deer at Ryno’s home and afterwards had a milkshake at McDonalds. Boshu was thrilled, he didn’t talk much but he kept smiling. The next week Ryno took him fishing and asked Boshu to hold the fish. Boshu was too scared so Ryno hung the fish up on a piece of string and Boshu held that instead. They took a photo and I still have it.

He was that little boy that cried and wouldn’t let me go. Now look at him!

Boshu was afraid of new things back then but Ryno introduced lots of surprises and encouraged him to get out of his comfort zone. I like how Big Buddies provide a different perspective in this way. I can always be a mum, but I can never be a father figure. Boys interact with men differently and having a man believe in them and tell them ‘you can do it’ builds their confidence. It makes a huge difference to a growing boy.

Now, two years later, you’ll find Boshu in a wetsuit fishing and happily grabbing fish with his hands. He’s been hunting and shot a hare, ridden a bike on the beach, played in the snow in the mountains and trekked for seven hours. Boshu is learning he can do all these things. I am so surprised how much Boshu has changed. He was that little boy that cried and wouldn’t let me go. Now look at him!

One day Boshu told me Ryno was like an uncle to him and I was really touched. I’m happy he has someone he can trust so much, that he can go to with problems he doesn’t want to talk to me about. We even spent last Christmas at Ryno’s place, we were all invited which was such a big honour.

Since Boshu has had a Big Buddy, he has become a responsible young man, making breakfast for his three siblings and taking them to school. He happily talks to adults, he’s empathetic and he’s doing well at school, winning an award last year. I’m so proud and I know this has been because of Big Buddy and the great role-modelling Ryno has provided.

My second and third sons have also been matched with Big Buddies. They are still finding their feet. They like to hang out with their buddies and enjoy the activities but it will take time to build their relationships. I’ve seen Boshu and Ryno grow together and I know it will happen for my other boys too.

Before Big Buddy I felt like there was nothing I could do to support Boshu, now I say, “Boshu, I don’t know what else I can do to help you because you are doing so well! You are doing more than good!” I know in my heart that he will have a very bright future.

Right now there are around 8,000 boys in New Zealand without fathers in their lives. These boys are navigating the challenges of life without the steady hand of a father to guide them. 

With your help, Big Buddy can continue to match young boys with good men to offer friendship, support and a good male role model to look up to. 

With 130 young boys currently on our waitlist, your support today is needed more than ever. 

Your donation will help build confidence and resilience in the lives of boys whose fathers are not around.  


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