A new service to help young men transition into fatherhood has been set up after two locals realised there was lots of support for new mums but new dads were "sort of just floundering".

Kia Pakari - Young Dads' Service is a free confidential support service helping young men through the many challenges of becoming a dad.

The service targets young dads, or soon-to-be dads, between the age of 13 and 25 who live in Rotorua's western suburbs.

Co-ordinator Tracey Ormsby said the community was "buzzing" but a lot of people didn't really know yet there was a service there to support them.

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"The traditional roles have really changed, that mum was the homemaker and dad was the bread winner. We want to see dads become more engaged in that whole maternal process."

The Kia Puawai programme, which is aimed at mothers, has been running at the Western Heights Health Centre for the last five years.

"Some of the dads are just not prepared for the responsibility," Ormsby said.

Kaitiaki for the programme Takerei Peck has his own young family at home.

"It always has its challenges, brings your accounts down, but it has a lot of teachings as well.

Takerei Peck and Tracey Ormsby are working to support young dads as they face the challenges of fatherhood. Photo / Ben Fraser
Takerei Peck and Tracey Ormsby are working to support young dads as they face the challenges of fatherhood. Photo / Ben Fraser

"To me, you've been given this gift, this new life and you learn to treasure it."

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Ormsby said they were both lucky to have had a good upbringing but some of the young dads weren't so fortunate.

"We've both come from stable families where we looked up to our granddads, our dads, brothers, older cousins and they don't necessarily have someone they can look up to for guidance," Peck said.

The offices of the service are based at the Brookland Rd shops, opposite the Western Heights Health Centre and Ormsby said the doors were always open.

Twenty-eight young dads are currently enrolled in the service but it can take up to 50.

Peck said organisers took a holistic approach to deal with the dads to address the support they really needed.

"We run workshops on all sorts of things such as exercise and nutrition, getting them to engage in activities which are different from what they're currently doing.

"We listen and learn from them the kind of support they need, that can be helping them create a CV or work towards a driver's licence."

Māori actor, singer and comedian Pio Terei will be coming to Rotorua to speak with the dads next Thursday.

"The dads are the ones leading their own treatment," Ormsby said.

"It's important they know there is a comfortable space for them to just come and have a chat."