New Zealand

The Cool Schools Peer Mediation Programme has been operating in New Zealand since 1991. It has been delivered to nearly two thirds of our schools nationwide. You can get the latest information on the program via

This proactive programme empowers people by teaching them skills and processes to resolve conflict peacefully. Individuals learn how to use conflict scenarios as an opportunity to build positive relationships with others. Non-violent, constructive, co-operative, WIN/WIN solutions to a problem are negotiated. Agreements are made which are mutually acceptable to all parties concerned. When implemented as a whole-school programme, it has a positive impact not only on students, teachers and parents but also for the wider school community.

Schools successfully implementing the programme report that 80-85% of minor disputes are settled permanently by peer mediators helping to make the school environment (both playground and classroom) a happier, safer, more peaceful place to be. Students are providing a service for other students as “peace-keepers”. They are modelling skills and processes, which will last a lifetime and are readily transferable to the home, workplace, community etc.

New Zealand is becoming increasingly multi-cultural. This cultural and ethnic diversity is often reflected in schools. The Cool Schools Peer Mediation Programme training increases the students’ awareness of cultural differences and fosters understanding and respect of diversity so that every child’s uniqueness is recognised and embraced.

There are three programmes available in New Zealand: Cool Schools Primary (Years 1-8); Cool Schools Secondary (Years 9-13); Cool Schools Parents’ Programme, and we are now developing Cool Schools International.

Roots of Empathy – Puna Atawhai

Roots of Empathy (ROE) is an award winning programme that has shown dramatic effects in reducing levels of aggression and violence among school children while raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. It also provides these children with a clear understanding of the needs of a baby and what it is to be a good parent, thus offering the potential to break intergenerational cycles of family abuse.

Culture of Peace Outreach Programme

The Peace Foundation also offers schools the Culture of Peace Outreach Programme. The project was launched by the Minister of Education Mr Trevor Mallard from the Beehive, and operates mostly in the Wellington region.
Outreach educators are available to visit schools to:

– Lead classes in various aspects of peace education
– Assist teachers in developing peace education in their classroom
– Demonstrate, display, discuss and distribute peace education resources
– Discuss other Peace Foundation programmes suitable for schools
– Consult with the principal, teachers and other school officials on problems and needs they have in regards to violence/conflict.

Lesson elements include:
– Affirmation and self esteem
– Communication skills
– Approaches to solving conflicts in the home, school, wider community or internationally
– Co-operative games
– Non-violence
– International law and international organisations including the United Nations and International Court of Justice.

The classes and educational materials offered are designed to conform to Health, Social Studies, Science, English and Environmental Curricula, and are in accordance with the Peace Studies Guidelines developed by the Ministry of Education.

Lessons Offered

Visualising a peaceful world. Creative visualisation and art on creating a peaceful world. Ages 5-12

Affirmation and self esteem. Exercises to develop self-esteem and to learn to affirm others. Ages 5-12

Conflict resolution (a). Role plays and discussions on solving conflicts in students’ lives. Ages 5-15

Conflict resolution (b). Simulated exercise on conflicts between groups. Introduces concepts of identity and conflict, negotiation strategies, what winning means, and equality v equity. Ages 14-18

Advanced conflict resolution. Tools for conflict analysis and resolution. Ages 15-18

Co-operative games. Games to build trust, communication, co-operation and confidence. Ages 5-18

Sadako and the thousand cranes. International children’s response to nuclear weapons. Includes making an origami crane, the Japanese peace bird. Ages 9-13

Non-violence as a response to environmental violence: The example of Greenpeace. Ages 12-18

Nuclear weapons and the Pacific. Nuclear testing, nuclear weapons free zones, the World Court cases and the Abolition 2000 campaign. Ages 14-18

International approaches to peacemaking, peacebuilding and war prevention. The examples of the United Nations, International Court of Justice, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and others. Ages 15-18