About Us


Starfish Social Services is a not-for-profit professional counselling, education, and social service that works across the Matamata-Piako District, and through our counselling service in South Waikato Schools. We take a holistic (mind, body and soul) approach to supporting people  achieve what is important to them. Our service is open to all, and we exist to help work through life’s challenges. We have a long history of supporting the very diverse youth communities of the district through youth leadership and development, event planning, counselling and/or social work, education, or assisting with financial supports and workplace options.  Life skills programmes for young people are regularly run to help  those with less resources than they should have.

Starfish is very often the first point of contact for community, health and well being referrals for all ages. We provide wrap around services to create opportunity for change and to help build positive relationships between people. We work to reduce any risk that may be present and enhance well being. Support can be one on one or in a group, through services such as counselling, mentoring, social work, family harm prevention and suicide prevention. 

Starfish is physically located in the heart of the Matamata community with mobile teams that travel throughout the district.  We are supported by a vibrant local community along with Supporting Trusts and the Ministries of Social Development, Youth Development and the Ministry of Education and some incredible trusts that enable our work to continue

Supporting Trusts

The Starfish Story


Original Story by: Loren Eisley

“One day a man was walking along the beach, when he noticed a boy hurriedly picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, “Young man, what are you doing?”

The Boy replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the ride is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

The man laughed to himself and said, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make  any difference!”

After listening politely , the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the surf. Then smiling at the man, he said.

“I made a difference to that one.”