A youth employment programme in Auckland which uses Māori and Pasifika values to build future leaders has produced its latest batch of graduates.
The Fletcher Building Connect programme aims to give rangatahi a bridge between school, and employment with their sights set on being promoted into managerial positions.
After applying for many jobs and getting nowhere - Dekota Simpson decided to join Connect.
Over six months rangatahi are supported by a mentor from Fletcher Building to learn work and life skills such as budgeting, time management and goal-setting.
This quickly built up his confidence.
"I'm doing things like without hesitation now just getting on it and attacking it quick," Mr Simpson said.
"If it's pushing my confidence to challenge and anything like that I'll do it - but the old me wouldn't."
Mr Simpson is now working at a distribution centre in Penrose - and is no longer shying away from new challenges.
"I want to be in a leadership position. I want to have an unshaking confidence [and] aim to be an influential speaker too."
Michael Moka is the chief executive of Indigenous Growth - which runs the programme for Fletcher Building.
He works to build leadership and management styles that are culturally diverse using indigenous values.
"Indigenous values or indigenous leadership is around community and service leadership it's value based leadership," Mr Moka said.
"It's looking after your self and family in order to be well at work and at home.
Mr Moka believes western models of leadership aren't a natural fit for many Māori and Pasifika young people.
"We're elephants and all the systems that are currently there are trying to teach elephants to climb a tree.
"All we're showing is actually we've got all the strength, we can knock the tree down."
Another graduate, Nicole Duncan said she was able to re-connect to her Māori whakapapa through the programme.
"What most helped was just setting clear goals for myself and just sort of figuring out myself culturally and spiritually as well - it's been a really great experience."
After graduating, Nicole is now tackling a new career challenge.
"My main career goal was to get more involved in human resources - between this and wānanga and our last [one], I was offered the HR [Human Resource] and safety manager job at Placemakers."
A total of 16 graduates completed the programme.