Our Story

In 2014, Dr Pat Bullen was the first academic scholar to be awarded a Vodafone World of Difference Fellowship. The Fellowship enabled her to travel around the world to explore university-based models of service-learning that incorporated youth mentoring. Service-learning is a model of learning that combines various types of hands-on service to others with classroom learning associated with the service delivered.

During her travels, Dr Bullen came across the Campus Connections programme developed by Professors Toni Zimmerman and Shelley Haddock at Colorado State University in 2009. Impressed by the model, in 2015 Dr Pat Bullen successfully applied for a University of Auckland Distinguished Visitor Award to support Professor Toni Zimmerman to visit New Zealand and present on the Campus Connections model in partnership with the New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network. Professor Zimmerman’s presentations garnered interest from the then Minister for Youth, the Ministry of Youth Development and the New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network who approached Dr Pat Bullen and Dr Kelsey Deane, recognised experts in youth mentoring and youth development programming, to canvas the possibility of bringing the model to Aotearoa New Zealand to address the barriers young people in Alternative Education have in accessing structured youth development opportunities and therapeutic support. This led to Dr Bullen and Dr Deane’s successful application to the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation for seed funding to develop and deliver an Aotearoa New Zealand pilot version of the Campus Connections programme. Subsequent proposals to the Ministry for Youth Development, the Fletcher Trust and the University of Auckland’s Vice Chancellor’s Strategic Development Fund enabled a joint funding partnership that has supported programme development and implementation over the past four years.

Following research and an extensive consultation process to ensure appropriate translation of the programme to the Aotearoa New Zealand cultural context, Campus Connections Aotearoa was launched at University of Auckland in 2017. The Kāhui Raukura Reo Maori Alumni Committee, who support the revitalisation of Māori language at the Faculty of Education and Social Work was approached about a te reo name for the programme. The resulting name, Tūhono Aiopīpī, refers to the importance of connection, nurturing, balance and well being in allowing young people to flourish. This name and accompanying whakataukī aptly captures the aspirations of the programme:

Mā te rongo ka mōhio

listening brings about awareness

Mā te mōhio ka mārama

awareness brings forth understanding

Mā te mārama ka mātau

understanding enhances knowledge

Mā te mātau ka ora

that knowledge promotes well being

Our People


We are a small but dedicated team with a range of expertise and experience. We are passionate about shaping excellent youth practitioners and positively impacting the lives of the youth we serve.

Dr Kelsey Deane

Dr Kelsey Deane

CC-A Co-Director

Dr Pat Bullen

Dr Pat Bullen

CC-A Co-Director

Sua Arona

CC-A Programme Manager

Send Us a Message

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 University of Auckland Epsom Campus

H Block, Room H117

74 Epsom Ave

Auckland 1022

campus.connections @ auckland.ac.nz

021 262 9363 | 020 464 9363