Support groups

Last updated 19 June 2023


Reaching out to ask for help is a good thing. 

Many of the support groups for tāngata whaikaha and their whānau are provided by people with lived experience--they've already walked the same journey and are willing to find ways to make things easy for you.

It's all right to ask for a little bit of help from time to time. 

There are lots of free, confidential and effective support groups out there waiting for you to say hi, to send an email, or ring their number. 

To start with, you can go to Facebook or Google and start typing key words like:

disability + group (for example, parents, teens, grandparents) + location (like Auckland). 

There are also lots of FREE counselling available in Auckland. 


Free counselling

Feeling stressed, worried, scared or depressed? We've put together a list of all the free counselling services you can use when you're dealing with tricky emotions and thoughts. 


Where to get funding for counselling 


Cultural support

  • The Te Puni Kōkiri website is home to a one-stop portal for up to date information for whānau about COVID-19 and the vaccine rollout; resources and support for whānau; and links to trusted sources of COVID-19 information. There is also information about where to find and contact Whānau Ora providers in your region. Please make use of these services whānau, they are there for you if and when you need them.

  • Māori Maps has an impressive list of marae located across many regions in Aotearoa. You can also search your iwi or hapū here. The resource aims to guide descendants and visitors to the marae gateways and support them to engage appropriately with local custodians. 
  • Vaka Tautua delivers community programmes and services for Pacific peoples, especially to older people, those living with disability, and people seeking support for their mental health. 
  • Tōfa Mamao provides assistance and information for disabled Pacific peoples and their families, to relevant and appropriate support services.
  • Atu-mai is about equipping young people and their families with the knowledge and tools to live violence-free. Atu-mai offers free eLearning that covers topics such as cultural identity and respectful partner relationships. Visit the website to start learning today. 
  • Asian Family Services can support you if you have housing, money, employment and personal wellbeing problems. Families dealing with gambling issues are welcome to get in touch with their English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and Hindi counsellors and social workers for counselling. Here are some videos explaining how counselling works. They also provide interpreter service for people who need communication support when talking to their doctor. 
  • ILCT Asian Information and Advisory Services provides information and advice in Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean. They can help you navigate the disability sector and provide a range of information and solutions to connect you to your community and supports that promote independence.
  • The Asian Network Incorporated (TANI) is an all Asians community organisation working for the betterment of Asian communities. They run migrant programmes, support groups for Asian parents or social groups for Asian grandparents.
  • Chinese New Settlers Services Trust offers comprehensive services and support to the New Zealand community and Asian new settlers including: new migrants settlement orientation and support, educational and work programmes, recruitment services for both job seekers and employers, community initiatives, and social housing projects.
  • Fatima Foundation works for the rights and safety of Muslim whānau in the home and community of Aotearoa New Zealand. 


Parents and caregivers 

  • Toughlove is a non-profit, self-help organisation that provides ongoing education and active support to families, empowering parents and young people to accept responsibility for their actions and stop destructive behaviours. A small membership fee applies. 
  • provides heaps of information about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder for caregiver and professionals. There is also a support group for parents and caregivers who are caring for children, youth and adults who have or may have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). There is no cost to attend. 
  • Improving Life Outcomes is a support group in West Auckland designed for anyone living with a family member with special needs.
  • If you want to join a support group on Zoom, Disability Connect organises one every week. Hop on in and bring up any issues, chat, be with others that may be in the same situation as you.
  • Whether you’re new to caring or have years of experience looking after a family or whānau member or someone close to you, this MSD Carers page will show you what support and services are available, how they might help you and how to get in touch with them. also provides information on every step of your caring journey. 



  • If you’re a grandparent raising grandchildren, you’re not alone. Grandparents Raising Grandchildren can help you. They support grandparents and whānau kin carers who have children in their full time care. Membership and services are free.


Young people

  • Upside Youth Mentoring (formerly known as Brothers In Arms) is a New Zealand-based non-profit organization that aims to provide young people aged 9 to 13 who have faced adverse childhood experiences with the support of a positive adult mentor. Through one-on-one mentoring relationships, Upside seeks to strengthen connections, build resilience, and empower young people to achieve their full potential. Their research-based approach involves matching each young person with a mentor who consistently supports them for a period of one year or more. Upside also provides tailored support and training for mentors, as well as resources and events to support the growth and development of young people.
  • I Lead is a social change movement led by youth, for youth. This group is the representative voice of young people with visible and invisible disabilities, working with central government organisations and corporates to help make Aotearoa a more accessible, equitable place to live. We aim to amplify the voices of youth with disabilities on any platform, at any table. They are always recruiting new members. Visit their website for more information. 
  • Sibling support. Living with a brother or sister who has a disability can be challenging. SibSupport NZ support siblings to thrive in their own unique family environment. They have SibShops, SibCamps and Adult Sibling support groups.
  • PHAB provides weekly social experiences for people with disabilities aged 16 and over. Members become an important and valued member of their communities, make friends, and most importantly have fun.



  • By Autistics for Autistics Zoom group is a space where autistic people can meet and talk to other autistics. It's a very informal space where everyone is encouraged to be themselves. They meet every Friday online. 


Chronic illness

  • Shiloh offers support and assistance to individuals and families affected by chronic illness. They provide wellbeing support groups, sesssion and counseling, both online and in person. For more information, visit their website


Mentoring programmes

  • Te Ara Rangatahi was created in 2015 by a group of Ngati Te Ata rangatahi who came together to discuss what they could do for their Iwi. They have mentoring, innovation, and employment focus programmes. Read on. 
  • STRIVE Community Trust Family Wellbeing Service is a preventative measure to assist whānau and individuals who are at risk of abuse or harm. Social workers provide interventions with the aim to enhance life outcomes for those whose social and family circumstances place them at risk of not achieving positive social and health outcomes.
  • Te Ata Hāpai is a youth hub co-designed with the youth it serves.
  • MYND supports young offenders’ transition back into their communities through providing life skills lessons and tools to help support young people. Visit the Dingle Foundation website for more information. 
  • Man Alive provides several programmes that actively promote positive manhood and strong relationships through a range of integrated services. They have both youth and adult services. 
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Zealand is a registered not-for-profit which oversees a national volunteer mentoring network, providing one-to-one mentoring for kiwi kids facing societal challenges and barriers to achievement.
  • Clendon Recreation Centre has leadership programmes under the YMCA umbrella to support young people going through difficulties in their adolescent years. 



  • Pets Assisting Therapy provides regular visits to disability homes, rest homes, day programmes, rehabilitation centres and hospitals in the greater Auckland area with their trained therapy animals.
  • Skylight supports people of all ages throughout New Zealand who are facing any kind of tough life situation, but they specialise in grief, loss and trauma.
  • Grief Centre offers a variety of services to assist those who are grieving. They include counselling, support groups, brochures, books and articles.
  • Aunty Dee is a free online tool for anyone who needs some help working through a problem, you can use Aunty Dee on your mobile phone, tablet or personal computer. Aunty Dee will guide you to list your problems, generate ideas and find a solution.
  • The Mental Wealth Project has a website full of useful information and free resources to download. Learn strategies to improve your mental wellbeing or understand the difference between anxiety and depression. Find out ways you can look after your mental health and where to go to find the right care and support when needed, for you and your family.
  • Blue Sky Mind has lots of free mindfulness support and resources for difficult times. For this to make an impact on your wellbeing, you will need to keep yourself motivated each day to practice some form of mindfulness meditation.
  • Heard & Minds develops and delivers workshops that build mental resilience as determined by the needs within our communities. They also provide health navigation that helps people to more clearly determine what their needs are and subsequently, what best-fit services are available to them. Check out their website for FREE wellbeing support or to be part of a FREE wellbeing and resilience group. 



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