Peer Support

Peer support


A peer is a person who has had a similar experience to another person or people, such as living with diabetes or mental distress, that has had a significant impact on their life. A peer can be in paid or unpaid employment, and use their experience to benefit others in the work they do. In New Zealand, there are several examples of peer support programmes and initiatives, mostly in the area of mental health.


However, programmes such as the Stanford chronic disease self-management education programme are designed to be led by peer leaders who share their own lived experience with participants as part of the facilitation process. Peer support workers, whether paid or unpaid, usually work within a structured programme and generally receive training and supervision as part of their role.

Peer support programmes and examples

Peer support can range from informal peer networks or buddy systems to formal peer support programmes.


In New Zealand, some examples are shown below – you can read more by visiting the websites.

Stanford self-management programmes

The Stanford programme is based on more than 25 years of research and is used in more than 25 countries around the world. Whatever health issues you have, this 6-week course can help as you learn a range of generic skills and tips to maximise your health and wellbeing.

Peer support training providers

There are numerous organisations providing peer training, mentoring and supervision, such as ComCare Trust, Community Support Services ITO Limited, Mind and Body Consultants and more.  

Tamaki NGO peer support programme

East Tamaki Healthcare conducts self-management education courses for various conditions such as asthma, diabetes, lung disease, high blood pressure and more. Participants meet for 2.5 hours per week for 6 weeks. Programmes are held in community centres, marae, churches, libraries and hospitals.  

West Coast Navigators programme

The West Coast Navigator programme was first funded in 2007 as part of a Ministry of Health project supporting people with cancer. The initial project was very successful and now the PHO funds the service from the LTC programme and has extended the service to include people with other long-term conditions (CVD, diabetes and respiratory), plus people who have complex social problems.

Hora Te Pai exercise and wellness programme

Robyn is a community health worker at Hora Te Pai Health Services, based at Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington. Robyn describes the Hora Te Pai Exercise and Wellness Programme, which has become a popular programme for the local community.

Ta Taipakeke

A gym-based Community Support Programme in the Rotorua area.


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