"START Taranaki has come a long way from a grass roots programme run by passionate people to be highly regarded, professional and very effective"

key stakeholder


START Taranaki is based in Kaponga on the southern slopes of Mount Taranaki.  It was incorporated as a charitable trust in late 2003 and is governed by a Board of Trustees.  The board brings a range of experience to the running of this not-for-profit group and all are passionate about achieving good outcomes for youth.

START Taranaki was founded by Neville Phillips, who is still currently the CEO.  Through Neville’s work with Choice Taranaki, he saw the potential for a powerful youth programme, based on giving young men the experiences in life that he had.  The freedom and opportunities to learn about the world through the environment, followed by learning to work and basic life skills from different role models in the community.

START Taranaki was very successful in its first few years; however, minimal funding meant that it was not sustainable.  In 2008 Neville closed the programme.  This initiated a mobilization of support from members of the local and Youth Justice Communities.  Later that year START reopened with full funding.  Since being reopened, START has been committed to evaluating and evolving.  Our aim is to provide the most powerful intervention possible for our young men.  The last five years have seen many trials and changes. It is through this process that we believe START has moved from strength to strength, and which has laid the foundation for a sustainable and exciting future.

START Taranaki is a community-based Supervision with Activity (SwA) provider. START was incorporated as a charitable trust in late 2003 and is governed by a Board of Trustees.  The Board brings a wide range of experience and all are committed to achieving good outcomes for youth. 

The START Taranaki programme runs through three phases over 20 weeks. Each young person has an individualised plan which is tailored to their needs.

“We are desperate for youth programmes that don’t provide a key and a door. High risk youth need programmes like START Taranaki”
— Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft