Life skills camp for Māori youth

By Regan Paranihi
  • North Island: East Coast
Source: Te Taitimu Trust Facebook -  Day 3 at Camp Mohaka 

100 rangatahi Māori are set to paddle down the Mohaka river as part of a programme to improve water safety and create the next generation of leaders.

The annual five-day Summer Camp is being hosted by Te Taitimu Trust in partnership with Ngāti Pahauwera Development Trust as well as Water Safety New Zealand (WSNA).

WSNZ CEO Jonty Mills says, "Maori make up almost a quarter of all preventable drownings whilst representing just 14% of the population. We are working to bring that number down and this camp does a great job of teaching essential water safety skills."

The camp has been running since 2007 with participation from many Māori all around the region.

Rangatahi are taught how to safely collect kaimoana, how to correctly wear a life jacket and get to experience a white-water rafting trip on the Mohaka river.

Te Taitimu Trust is a Whānau Ora initiative formed by Zach Makoare after he lost his son to suicide in 2000. He says it took him seven years to heal from that loss and establishing the trust was part of that healing process.  

Now the focus on suicide has been extended and the Trust has enhanced the programme by implementing life skills to it.

Makoare says this camp supports tamariki, rangatahi as well as their whanau.

"Our kaupapa on the 11th year is "Making a Difference" for our rangatahi. Many of our hard to reach families don't have the ability to spend much time in the rivers and moana as they used to 100 years ago. Learning these water safety skills are vital for our whanau to learn about safe practices around water activities."