Otago Polytechnic

Kowhai Centre is closed

Kowhai Centre is closed following the government's COVID-19 alert. In case of an emergency, please phone Dunedin Hospital 03 474 0999 and ask for EPS. If you would like to talk to a trained counsellor, please phone 1737.

The Kowhai Centre provides free counselling support to the community.

Student counsellors from the Bachelor of Social Services programme offer supportive counselling to members of the public in a training environment under NZAC supervision.

Students of the programme are in their second year of training, bringing with them theoretical knowledge, life experience, previous training and diversity. As a client of the Kowhai Centre, you may be asked by your student counsellor for permission to record a client session. If this happens, you will not be visible on the recording – the camera will be focused on the counsellor.

Students are supported by lecturing staff and counsellors within the Dunedin community to provide free counselling that is professional, supportive and accessible.

Kowhai Centre is open to the public. We accept donations and do not charge for services, although there is a late-cancellation fee of $10 if you cancel your appointment less than 24 hours before the scheduled time.

  Making an appointment

If you would like to make an appointment, you can phone or email us, or complete the online form below. A referral can be made by another professional of any service, organisation or agency.

We cannot accept a referral made on behalf of a friend or family member without first speaking to the person who will receive the counselling.

The Kowhai Centre Manager will contact you to find out more about your situation so we can offer you the best service possible. This will occur on our next opening day, which may not be until the next Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Please complete our intake form and bring it with you to your appointment. 

Make an appointment

  Services offered

The Kowhai Centre offers individual counselling sessions to people over the age of 16 years in a confidential and safe setting to explore, clarify or resolve life's challenges such as:

  • Relationships
  • Grief and loss
  • Stress
  • Parenting
  • Self-esteem
  • Planning and goal setting
  • Life changes

All students receive regular individual supervision by qualified members of a professional association such as New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC).

Please note: The Kowhai Centre service is not available to Otago Polytechnic students. Students can access counselling services through the Student Health Centre.

  What you can expect
  • Confidentiality
  • Professional support
  • Respectful, caring counsellors
  • Comfortable, private setting
  • A person-centred approach and other counselling models of practice
  • NZAC supervised counselling.

Marie Mackay
Kowhai Centre Practice Manager
Counselling NZAC registered

Chris Williamson
Head of College, College of Community Development and Personal Wellbeing
MEd (Couns), PGDip, MNZAC

Additional members of staff within the College of Community Development and Personal Wellbeing provide supervision: Morag Cunningham Stephanie Revell.

  Hours of service

Wednesday 3.00pm  7.00pm

Thursday 11.00am – 7.00pm

Friday 9.00am – 2.00pm


Phone 03 479 6198 

Please leave a message on the answering machine as we are only able to take calls within the hours of service. Alternatively, please email the Kowhai Centre Manager, kowhai.centre@op.ac.nz

  Visitor Carparking

There is one carpark designated ‘Kowhai Centre Clients’. This is in the Staff Carpark area on St David Street.

Head up St David Street from Harbour Terrace and enter the first driveway on your left. You will see the designated carpark to your left. (There is small board indicating the carpark.) If the park is taken, you can park in a visitor carpark outside D or F Blocks (indicated by VCP on the map below). If you park there, you need to display your appointment card on the dashboard.

Please display your appointment card on your vehicle dashboard.


Kowhai Centre location map

Kowhai Centre

153 St David Street
College of Community Development and Personal Wellbeing, Otago Polytechnic
Dunedin 9054

Visitor carparking is located adjacent D Block off Harbour Terrace. Please display your appointment card on your vehicle dashboard.