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Sticks 'n Stones

It starts with you

Sticks ‘n Stones is New Zealand's multi award winning authentic partnership with children and young people to create positive social change and prevent bullying. We empower, support and train approximately 1000 students each year. We centre the experiences & perspectives of young people at every stage of decision making through to governance. Co-design drives our work from research to practice.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

Web presence






Target group
Students lower
May 2024
Students involved as partners & collaborators when it comes to issues that impact them. Moving away from 'one-size-fits-all' programmes & one off 'sit and listen' presentations. Students involved in action research to better understand the unique challenges & opportunities in each school. Opportunities (incl leadership) for students to partner in creating positive social change authentically.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Young people were frustrated by approaches to bullying prevention and digital wellbeing about them & done to them instead of with them. SnS was co created with a passionate team of teens who wanted to challenge and change the attitudes, norms and behaviours that accept bullying behaviours (online and off). They wanted to be involved beyond consultation to create meaningful social change.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Young people are equal partners & contributors through participatory design, fostering a collaborative, student-centred approach that empowers them to take the lead & guide the learning experience. Action research guides a school specific approach with the insights gained from data informing the development of tailored programmes for schools & young people based on the unique challenges and opportunities in each environment. Support is multi faceted & ongoing throughout the year. We work with students for a half or full day workshop every term, focusing on interactive and engaging learning & active practice to build skills and confidence. Students build on learning through independent, self-selected action projects to bring learning to life & positively impact their environments. We also support teachers through coaching, mentoring & planning as well as engaging with the parent community. Our innovation moves away from one off presentations done to students to meaningful involvement.

How has it been spreading?

Since 2013, Sticks 'n Stones has worked across schools in Central Otago to grow from supporting 30 to over 6000 students. We have iterated multiple times since 2013 with the support and guidance of young people. In addition to our region specific in school support, we also partnered with Meta in 2019 to facilitate a national online advocate programme with 40 schools from Northland to Otago. In 2021 we partnered with the Ministry of Education to co-design Student Activity packs for both Primary & Secondary school students nationwide as part of bullying free NZ week that have been downloaded hundreds of times. We generously share resources, including our award winning co-designed online support app & provide mentoring and support to young people, schools and other organisations.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Visit our website, download one of our action packs
Get in touch with us to learn more - we would be happy to provide support.
1. Involve students early, before decisions are made
2. Maintain their involvement -continue to involve them in an ongoing and meaningful way
3. Make space for the power of the peers this cannot be overstated when it comes to bullying prevention.

Implementation steps

Participatory Design & Meaningful Involvement
1) Action Research co-designed with students to better understand the challenges and opportunities within the school from their perspectives & experiences of (including language and qn types)
2) Analyse & share findings
3) Use findings to identify key areas for development through a strengths based, active participation lens
4) Facilitate learning as a partner not lecture style or 'sit and listen', focus on active practice
5) Create space for students to build on learning through action projects

Spread of the innovation

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