He Ira Wāhine | The Women’s Mentoring Programme at the Business School matches women business students with women working in business.

Why single out women?

Women make up almost half of the Business School’s student population, and regularly top their classes. Despite this, women continue to be the minority in senior and executive positions, and on boards and committees. As a result, the perspectives of women are under-represented in public policy and decision-making processes.

He Ira Wāhine | The Women’s Mentoring Programme at the Business School aims to help address the issue of a lack of women at senior levels in the corporate world by providing an opportunity for the businesswomen of tomorrow to learn from the successful businesswomen of today.

Mentoring programmes can facilitate women’s career development, as well as provide them with insights and information into organisational cultures at senior management levels.

Hear from mentors and mentees about how He Ira Wāhine | The Women’s Mentoring Programme guides the next generation of women business leaders in the video below:

About the Programme

He Ira Wāhine | The Women’s Mentoring Programme was set up in 2011. Since then, nearly 800 mentees have been through the programme, along with nearly 500 mentors from over 150 different organisations. 

Every year, the programme matches between 70 and 80 highly motivated and engaged women business students with a diverse range of women working in business.

The programme is designed to be highly flexible so the mentee can achieve their own professional development goals. It is also intended that it does not become too onerous and can accommodate the mentors' and mentees' busy schedules.

We recommend mentors and mentees meet once a month if possible, with a minimum of at least four face-to-face meetings during the year along with more regular email or phone communication.

Whilst the programme is designed to be flexible, we also provide suggested topics to help drive conversation, with supporting reading materials. Topics include:

  • Making a great first impression
  • Building rapport
  • Networking
  • Learning the job
  • Managing conflict
  • Balancing work/life and leisure
  • Being resilient

There are also regular events for all participants in the programme to meet, with opportunities to hear from New Zealand’s leading women. Speakers have included former Prime Minister Rt Hon Dame Jenny Shipley, alumna Anne Quinn CBE, who led a distinguished career in the oil, gas and power industry, and Spark New Zealand Chair and CEO, Justine Smyth and Jolie Hodson.

Students and mentees

The programme is only open to women undergraduate BCom or BCom conjoint students, and BProp or BProp conjoint students who will have completed at least one year of business programmes and will be going into their penultimate or final year of study in March 2023. BCom(Hons) and BProp(Hons) students are also invited to apply. Other postgraduate or masters students and those students who have already participated in the programme in the past, are not able to apply. Mentees will need to be enrolled in business courses and based in Auckland for the duration of the programme, to fulfil their mentoring relationship. If you are going on exchange in 2023, you will not be eligible to apply.

He Ira Wāhine | The Women's Mentoring Programme is designed for students who need assistance with their career path and want to improve skills and broaden their networks. Be prepared to attend an event each month, usually held after 6pm.

Applications will be judged on quality of responses, and students involved in extracurricular, voluntary and community activities will also be regarded highly. The next programme starts in Semester One 2023.

It is important to note that this is not a work experience programme or a recruitment tool and students should not expect to obtain employment from the programme.

Commitment required from mentors

The programme runs during the academic year, from March to October. Ideally, mentors will meet up with their mentees around once a month, as well as at the on-campus networking events. We provide monthly topics of discussion and resources to help drive discussion.

Mentors must live in Auckland, have a minimum of five years’ industry experience, be willing to commit to the programme and be able to attend some evening events. There are approximately four networking events for mentors and mentees throughout the year, as well as a mentors’ briefing, a mentors' feedback session, the programme launch event in March, and the final wrap-up event in October with all participants.

Support He Ira Wāhine | The Women’s Mentoring Programme at the Business School

Help us ensure the continuation of this worthwhile programme, so that we can keep supporting our women business students well into the future.

Find out more about giving to the programme.