Mahi tahi (co-operation) and confidence building were the hallmarks of a school holiday programme designed by rangatahi and based on the E Tū Whānau values.
Around 50 boys and girls, aged between 8 and 14 years took part in Mana Rangatahi, a three-day programme held in the last week of the April school holidays (2016) at Gisborne’s Ilminster Intermediate school. It was run by Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou.
The rūnunga education kaiwhakahaere, Naleya Ahu, said she was very proud of the young people who got up and spoke at their final evaluation.
“It blew me away to see how many had taken on leadership roles with younger kids and to see them all grow in ways I’d never see outside this programme.”
The young people who attended the school holiday programme came from a range of different backgrounds. They had different abilities and needs but when they arrived on day one, none of that mattered. They united as one. Some were shy at first and needed a bit more support from the facilitators before getting into the spirit of the programme and letting their creativity flow.
There was kōrero about issues like bullying but Naleya Ahu says that asking other young people to design the programme was key to its heartwarming success.
“These rangatahi reminded us that learning had to be fun, so after brainstorming a whole lot of ideas we came up with our very own Amazing Race.”
Success based on leadership
In the Mana Rangatahi Amazing Race, the young people got into groups named after one of the six E Tū Whānau values and designed a game that expressed that value. Success hinged around leadership, co-operation, imagination, and laughter. Points were allocated on how well they worked together and how positively they engaged in the activity. At the end of the programme, they were all rewarded with a trip to the movies, a haakari and a well-earned certificate of achievement.
“The rangatahi felt like they owned the programme. Most came from Māori cultural backgrounds. They’d been to kōhanga or kura so they were familiar with these values and could build on that. They really felt empowered at the end of it,” Naleya said.
Communication, she said, was key. Each group nominated a team leader. Each morning they, along with the young volunteer facilitators and adult mentors attached to each group were briefed on what was going to happen that day and why. The team leader was then responsible for passing that onto others in their group.
Positive response from parents
On the first day, the young people were given a pack of E Tū Whānau resources, explaining the kaupapa and the emphasis on the values to share with their parents. Feedback was swift and positive.
“When they dropped their tamariki off on the following mornings, we had mums and dads tell us that their kids had already started to gently challenge them on behaviour that didn’t fit into the values and that they were all good with that.”
Mana Rangatahi is one of three whānau-focused programmes developed from feedback to an E Tū Whānau Community Day run by Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou last year. A Mana Wāhine group and Mana Tāne group have also been established.
It is the latest in a number of E Tū Whānau inspired rangatahi hui. E Tū Whānau’s fundamental kaupapa is to strengthen whānau in all its different forms as the way to make long lasting and positive changes in our society. It has a strong focus on supporting and developing the potential of rangatahi because they are the future.