21 May 2020

Kaikōura youth programme: 'We can focus on actually doing the mahi'

5:47 pm on 21 May 2020

A programme to get troubled youth in Kaikōura into work or education has received half a million dollars from the government.


Photo: 123RF

Bros for Change is a twenty week long kaupapa Māori programme that uses mau rakau, haka, and traditional food gathering practices to give rangatahi the skills get back into education or employment.

It has been extended from a 6-week tikanga programme after an evaluation by Ihi Research.

Bros for Change received $510,000 from He Poutama Rangatahi, a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment fund to get more youth into training and employment, that was given a $121 million boost in this years' budget.

The half a million dollars would allow Bros for Change to renovate a building in Kaikōura into a youth hub, and fund three wānanga over the next two years, Bros for Change Founder Jaye Pukepuke said.

"We welcome that funding with open arms because that means there's one less thing we have to worry about and we can focus on actually doing the mahi."

The programme is for 15 - 24-year-olds who weren't employed or in education and may have come from a single-parent home, or grown-up in households where violence, drugs or alcohol were a heavy presence.

"We want to target that group and hopefully change their view on the potential they have and what they can positively do with that," Pukepuke said.

The programme used mau rakau, haka, waiata and mahinga kai to teach confidence and grow their sense of identity.

He said a lot of the rangatahi he worked with had been told they were useless, stupid or would never amount to anything from a young age, so it was about changing those messages.

"They might come to us with a big file of incidents and reports and whatever, but we just treat them all the same, our whole programme is based around building resilience, taking a te ao Māori view [and] using tikanga to guide us."

The small coastal town which earns more than 30 percent of its GDP from tourism, is set to be hit hard by the border closures put in place to reduce the transmission of Covid-19.

Pukepuke said they were working with the local marae, farmers, business' and the Department of Conservation to find employment for the youth once they finished the course

The first programme will start in mid-July.

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