Helping whānau to thrive

Te Ranga Hau Raro (the Lower Winds), a school holiday programme run by Waiwhetu Marae, offers ‘at risk’ rangatahi adventures and opportunities many have never dreamt of.

During the December holidays in 2015, two separate, week-long wānanga were held for tāne and wāhine on Matiu/Somes Island in Wellington harbour.  Tamariki as young as five years, young parents and elders up to 80 years of age spent time together in a peaceful, natural environment.

The programme’s kaiako insist that learning should be fun so, last December 25 rangatahi aged from seven to 14 took off on a four-day haerenga to the Hawkes Bay.  The highlight was a day at the Splash Planet Water Park.

Te Rae Ngaheke with his daughter

Day to day management of the scheme is done by 24-year- old dad, Te Rae Ngaheke. He’s grown up with many of the tamariki’s parents which makes it easier to identify those who would benefit from the programme.

“They are friends and whānau so of course I know if, for example, there’s issues in the whare which are affecting the rangatahi but we don’t preach to those parents or whānau. We simply offer them and their tamariki this service.

“It’s all about giving kids more options and letting them explore the many opportunities their marae can offer them.”