ATAWHAI - Mindfulness & stress management program for marganalised youth


This program works with marginalised Auckland youth aged 15-18 with low self-efficacy but lots of potential. Rangatahi are recruited from community partners, alternative education, low-decile schools and corrections programs.

Program structure:

  1. 2 weeks of mentoring, mindfulness & stress management program for high needs youth

  2. Program is continued over 12 months to support high needs youth to improve their mental health and resilience through monthly workshops, mentoring and stress management coaching

ATAWHAI is a resilience and positive mental health program that supports youth to improve their own lives through mindfulness, stress management and leadership capabilities.

At ATAWHAI, rangatahi learn to deal with challenging emotions, conflicts and to improve their forgiveness, honest communication, empathy, focus, motivation, positive decision making and positive relationship skills.



Evaluations show that 100% of our ATAWHAI youth have seen a reduction in stress, an increase in focus, calmness, connection and trust. Rangatahi have seen positive impacts on anxiety & depression.

AATAWHAI youth are teaching their community stress management tools through our training the trainer program. This program increases the wellbeing of not rangatahi but also whanau, school, workplace and the wider community.

In our latest ATAWHAI youth program, 100% of youth reported a reduction in stress and very high percentages (ranging from 96-99%) of rangatahi reported that the below target youth outcomes has been achieved.


Target youth outcomes:

  • Increase in calmness and ability to manage stress / anger
  • Increased ability to focus
  • Increased kindness to others & to self
  • Increased sense of connection and improved relationships
  • Improved ability to communicate & manage conflicts



When young people have the support they need, they can learn to manage stress on even the busiest of days and support themselves in the midst of chaos. Using Mindfulness & The Work of Byron Katie, our stress management coaching helps young people to manage stress, be kinder to themselves, let go of others stress & improve their relationships, communication and health.


Rangatahi are partnered with a youth mentor who guides and supports their personal growth throughout the intensive 2 week program and post program over 12 months of the ATAWHAI program. Mentors are specialists in youth development, mindfulness and stress management for marginalised youth.


Through the ‘training the trainer’ model, our young people teach whanau & friends their new stress management tools. Class homework is in two parts;

1.        To practice new skills outside of class

2.        To teach mindfulness and stress management techniques to someone in your community