Roots of Empathy in New Zealand

Roots of Empathy NZ classroom children in red t shirts


12,225 New Zealand children have participated in a

Roots of Empathy program since 2006.


"My teacher is six months old" - Babies tackle bullying


In a new Radio New Zealand (RNZ) interview during her visit to the region this past week, when asked why Roots of Empathy works with babies, Founder and President Mary Gordon answered, "The leaders of tomorrow must have empathy. Children aren't just part of tomorrow, they're 100% of tomorrow and they'll be deciding what social justice looks like."  Check out this exclusive radio piece and online article,  where Lynda Chanwai-Earl visits Roots of Empathy programming at Thorndon Primary School in Wellington, New Zealand, observing the impact of Tiny Teacher Nisha in the classroom, talking to both facilitators and students about their experiences with the program, and learning more about the program’s origins and mission for moving forward with empathy.



Mary Gordon in New Zealand



14-22 August 2015 - Mary Gordon is visiting four communities in New Zealand where she is speaking about Roots of Empathy - its growth and impact.  You can read more about her visit here, including information on her public lecture in Auckland. Come out and hear how Roots of Empathy was designed to break cycles of intergenerational violence, child abuse and neglect through the development of empathy, and how research has shown immediate effects in the classroom - reduced levels of bullying and aggression and increased levels of prosocial behaviours and empathy.







International Speaker Series


Dr. Cindy Kiro is the director of the Starpath Project and 'Te Tumu' and head of Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland.
She was the fourth Children's Commissioner of New Zealand.

In her Roots of Empathy Speaker Series presentation, "Empathy, culture and future:
How the past informs the future", Dr. Kiro speaks about the history and education
of the Māori people in New Zealand and recent work on the long-term health and social well-being of Māori children and youth.

You can watch the full presentation, segments of her presentation and a panel discussion on Indigenous education in Canada and New Zealand here.




Did you know ...

  •   MG__NZ_PM_400_dpi_cropped_lores
      2006: Former Prime Minister Helen Clark with Mary Gordon at the launch of Roots of Empathy in New Zealand.
    New Zealand was home to the first Roots of Empathy programs outside of Canada.


  • In New Zealand Roots of Empathy programs are now active in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Rotorua.


  • 89% of teachers in New Zealand with Roots of Empathy in their classrooms strongly agreed or agreed that as a result of the program, students are more able to understand other people’s points of view.


  • 85% of students in New Zealand who have participated in Roots of Empathy reported learning to recognize their own feelings.




For more information please contact:

Ally Fulcher, Programme Manager, Roots of Empathy New Zealand 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T:  09 535 8138   M: 021 077 8137


Find out more about how you can be involved in Roots of Empathy as a volunteer family or Instructor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To bring Roots of Empathy to your community, please review the Expansion document and these FAQs, and then contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..