SPARKLERS / Kindness & friendship

There For Me

Previously called Got Your Back, this activity helps Year 7 and 8 tamariki reflect on the people who are there for them, and the different roles they can play.
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki are able to reflect of the different people they can turn to for support, if they need it.

Tāngia ēnei tohutohu – Print me

You will need to print each student a There for me worksheet.

OR if you'd like to suggest this activity to whānau, there is a cool printer-free version in Sparklers At Home.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

Connecting with others is a fundamental human need – we all need people in our lives we care about, who care about us too. When we feel connected to others it makes us, and the people we connect to, feel good.

Tikanga tips

Māori tamariki may refer to ‘friends’ as extended family or whānau – friends may be referred to as ‘sisters’ or ‘brothers’. The names don’t matter at all – this activity can include family and whānau relationships based on aroha, manaakitanga and tautoko.


Explain that you’re going to think about our friendships, and who we are as a friend.

Let students know that friends don’t have to be classmates, they may be cool family members or people you know outside school, through sports team, church or your neighbourhood.

What sorts of things make a good friend? Write these on the board.

Friends look out for us and make us feel good. They are safe. And they’re there for us.

Hei mahi - What to do

Dream car, dream team!

When we have problems it can help to think about our ‘circle of friends’ and who might be the best person to go to.

Give each student a There For Me Worksheet (car) and tell students to pretend this is their dream car – the one they’ve always wanted!

Let tamariki know that they’re going to think about the different types of friendships as a car metaphor. Ask tamariki what they think this might mean.

If needed give them a few examples, e.g: Friends can be like... headlights because they're bright and illuminating and can help us find out way.

Give tamariki time to complete the worksheet, adding similes to each part of their car. You might also advise tamariki not to mention names during this activity, to make sure we don't accidentally leave anyone out.

Regroup and discuss! So if we think of the parts of a car as friends – what different qualities would they have? (Ideas below but tamariki are sure to have their own creative ideas!)

  • Engine or motor – maybe someone that’s motivating, or who you couldn’t do without.
  • Headlights – Someone bright and illuminating, who helps us find our way.
  • Boot – holds everything you throw at them and help you carry the load.
  • Petrol – gives you energy, fills you up, makes you feel good.
  • Glove Box – Someone you can tell anything, because they keep your personal stuff secret
  • Stereo – great entertainment and make you laugh.
  • Seat warmer (dream car!) – great occasionally and really comforting.
  • Spare tyre – handy in tricky situations, there to call on when you need them.
  • Seat belt – help us stay safe and bring us peace of mind.

What does this activity show us? Does one friend need to cover every role?

No! We can’t expect one friend to fulfil every need we have, and the good news is, they don’t need to. Different people can be there for us in different ways.

Ask students the sort of person they might go to if they:

  • needed to talk to someone about a worry, e.g. going to high school soon
  • felt low and just need a good laugh
  • needed a training buddy to help them get fit for a new sport
  • wanted to go on a great adventure and needed to convince others to come along
  • needed help with something everyone else seemed to understand
  • felt unsure about how to manage a tricky situation.

Different friendships have different strengths.

What next?

You may like to add to this kōrero by asking whether friends need to a) be like you, b) be like each other or c) even like each other!

This is a good chance to cover talking about one friend to another and what that can do to friendships (breaks trust and feels hurtful, because the other person nearly always finds out). What’s a better approach?

You might also like to explore bullying, by asking:

  • What kind of mate would stand up to someone – where are they on your car?
  • What kind of mate would ‘distract’ – where are they on your car?
  • What kind of mate would ‘call it’? – where are they on your car?

Encourage tamariki to think about which roles they can play for others.

Let tamariki know we’re not always good at friendships – we have to practice being a good friend ourselves and learn from our mistakes.

Check the Sparklers at home version of this activity There for me

Thank you to ...

We’d like to thank the wonderful Tōtara teachers at Lyttelton Primary School for their creativity and wisdom. We really appreciate all of your help.

Looking after you

Foster the hauora of your kaiako and team

Learn more