Counselling Services

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

At Mount Roskill Grammar School we have a team of four Counsellors. All have post-graduate counselling qualifications, and all are members of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors. We abide by the Code of Ethics of this association, which means that confidentiality is maintained unless there is an imminent risk to safety.

Referrals are welcome from students, from staff and from family members. An appointment system is used to enable Counsellors to give our students uninterrupted sessions. Counsellors offer individual and group counselling, mediation and Restorative Justice facilitation and advocacy. They share a commitment of working towards a socially healthy and emotionally safe school.

Over 80 students attend counselling each week for a wide range of issues. Students of all academic levels, and from all ethnicities and age groups are represented. Students do not need to be “in trouble” at school!

If appropriate students can be referred free of charge for psychological support to the school psychologist who works in our team or to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, either the Kari Centre (at Greenlane Clinical Centre) or Whirinaki (South Auckland). Referrals can be recommended when students face chronic or severe depression, severe anxiety, panic attacks or other mental health challenges.

Itinerant Counsellors from Auckland Sexual Abuse Help and Community Alcohol and Drug Services work from our premises for students who request specialist help.

HOD Counselling – Margaret Hoogendoorn

M.Ed. (Counselling), University of Auckland, MNZAC.

I was born and bred in the Netherlands, where I completed my Teacher Training. Teaching Art in New Zealand, students often brought up personal challenges with me in the Art room. I developed a passion for “helpful talk” and decided to train as a Counsellor.

I still feel as excited and privileged to work at Mount Roskill Grammar as when I started in 1996.

This diverse, colourful community has so much heart.  The school’s overarching values of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga match my passion for restorative justice facilitation and for facilitating proactive groups to create connectedness and belonging.

I run the Peer Sexuality Support Programme and the school’s Diversity group with a large group of outstanding student leaders. 

Department Members

Donna Hourigan-Johnston,  MA (Counselling), University of Auckland; MNZAC

I have lived in the Mount Roskill community for over 30 years, and our children have both attended Mt Roskill Grammar. After working as a Family Therapist for 16 years, I became a School Counsellor at MRGS in 2001.

I love working alongside our young people and I am deeply committed to their social and emotional wellbeing. I believe as a community we are all responsible for the care of our children.

I am the Coordinator of the Peer Mediation and Mentorship service, and I work in collaboration with the Peace Foundation. We have over 200 trained Mediators at the school who act as ‘Ambassadors of Social Justice’. These inspirational young people speak up for the important values of peace, kindness, respect and equality for all.

Rose Jenkin  BSc (Hons), Dip Couns University of Auckland, MNZAC

Removing stigma around mental health is a particular passion of mine, and I have been very excited to work with year 12 and 13 student leaders who have a similar focus. The power of peer to peer messages is strong, and our “Live for Tomorrow…” events are so much more effective than my own voice could ever be.

I feel it is a great privilege and joy to accompany our wonderful students as they find ways to manage difficulties and celebrate their successes.

Learning about what is meaningful to our students and hearing how they express themselves authentically reminds me that I am on sacred ground.

Leisa Munro, Dip Couns, MEd Mgmt, NZAC

After a background teaching English and Health and ten years of work in Secondary Schools as a Deputy Principal, I have recently retrained as a counsellor.  Entering my third year of counselling at our amazing school is such a privilege! Research supports my belief that students are under ever increasing pressure from societal wide forces which may impact their achievement negatively.  I am delighted to be a part of such a fantastic support network for students which also works so proactively with issues facing our rangatahi.  I also assist two student leadership groups, Body Image Leaders and SYNC (Shakti Youth Network for Change), in their quest to support their peers.

Making an Appointment

For students: please drop in at the start of the day to make an appointment with a Counsellor of your choice, or private message us on Facebook/mrgs counselling

For parents: please e-mail or phone to make an appointment. (

Pro-active work

As counsellors, a large part of our work is “Top of the cliff” preventative mental and social health support.

We run whole-class and group restorative conferences to help explore harm and repair relationships and a wide range of group programmes.

We run the Peer Sexuality Support Programme, Peer Mediation, “Live4tomorrow…”, Body Image Leaders and Shakti Youth Network for Change. 

The counselling department runs a range of proactive group programs including Drumbeat. DRUMBEAT is a flexible programme that combines experiential learning with cognitive behavioural therapy, and engages young people who would benefit from extra support.

School closed due to Covid-19 lockdown updates

    School closed due to Covid-19 lockdown - Please find all information here: Covid-19 updates