Mates Helping Mates


Mates Helping Mates


When the MATES in Construction team gathered in December, we spoke about our individual and collective Whys. The conversation ebbed and flowed, often returning to two major themes – helping and people.

The construction industry loses, on average, one worker a week, to suicide. MATES in Construction New Zealand have been in operation since 2019, when construction had the highest male suicide rate for any occupational group.

Helping people is an especially pertinent purpose for many of our Field Officers, who build a web of well-being by delivering the MATES Programme to construction workers on sites around the country.

We recently caught up with our Field Officers to hear about some of the best on-site cultures during their time with MATES. The idea that we are Stronger Together shone through in their comments.

Raman Lee, MATES Training and Delivery Lead, is always encouraged when he sees leadership model vulnerability to workers.

“Some of the best sites I have been to are when bosses communicate to all workers that it is okay not to be okay.”

At first, Waikato Field Officer Nadia Bindel was pleasantly surprised to see the response MATES received on site.

“Seeing so many companies encouraging their workers to reach out to us and inviting us Field Officers to sit in lunchrooms so we are available if anyone wants to talk speaks volumes.”

“The number of managers and colleagues who call us on behalf of a workmate that may be struggling is also fantastic.”

Christchurch Field Officers Nathan Tairea and Emma Dunkley shared that they look for a sense of community and whānau when they visit sites.

Nathan said, “Sites that take a selfless approach to the team make the best places to visit as an outsider; feeling like a part of that community is a great experience.”

Emma also reflected on the togetherness she has experienced on sites.

“You notice the sites that support each other and can laugh together have a great bond; they are the sites that wave when you drive past.”

MATES are also available through the Support Line – 0800 111 315, where workers can talk to someone if they or their Mates are struggling.

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