New space to help rangatahi flourish

(From left) Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust programme manager Greg Houkamau, Te Waka Tuhono manukura Janette Clarke and rangatahi perform a haka for the opening ceremony of the Te Huinga Rau building.

NGA Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust has leased an additional building to help expand and develop its operations.

The organisation opened the doors to the new facility, Te Huinga Rau, last week.

Chief executive Tracey Wright-Tawha said it would be used by the rangatahi programme Te
Waka Tuhono and for further operations.

“In addition to after school opportunities, the new building gives the space for guest speakers, cooking classes and other educational purposes.

“We will also use it for our foodbank, Pataka Oranga.”

Te Waka Tuhono programme manukura (facilitators) Joe and Janette Clarke said it was a dream come true opening the doors to the public.

Mrs Clarke said they were excited to be able to use the space.

“We’ve had people say it feels welcoming and friendly, so we know it will be a great place for our rangatahi to grow a sense of belonging and feel safe at home.”

Te Waka Tuhono aimed to build resilience and well-being for young Maori people who might be directly or indirectly affected by alcohol or drug abuse, Mr Clarke said.

“We usually have up to 10 rangatahi between the ages of 14-17 which we engage in Maori practices, but the kaupapa (purpose) is really about creating resilience, making better choices and establishing strong cultural connections.’’

Board of trustees members Bruce Pagan and Terry King said the building would benefit a lot of young people in the area.

The additional facility was a long-term value and investment for young people, Mr King said.

“The opening of this building is a representation of the belief people have in the potential in our rangatahi,’’ Mr Pagan said.