More than 300 men have learnt a special haka composed for the Man Up Tū Tangata programme at its first workshop in Auckland. The movement focuses on healing and rehabilitating men, many with rough backgrounds, to create a better future with their families.
These men have traded gang patches for the Man Up mentality.
Toko Kopu (Te Arawa, Tainui) says, "It's just awesome. If it can change someone like me, and I was a founder and a president of the [Mongrel] Mob, it can change anyone."
Former Mongrel Mob member Whiti Maney has been in and out of prison for most of his son's life. He doesn't want his son becoming a third generation gang member.
Haeretawhiti Maney (Te Arawa, Tainui) says, "Just seeing my son yearning for a relationship like I yearned from my father, that time and relationship that was something that stood out for me. I'd like my son to look at me as a superman figure but as a father figure. But because I've been absent from the household that's not happening so over time I hope that changes."
There are more than 90 Man Up Tu Tangata groups in NZ and Australia. Most of the men here are Māori, many of them former inmates.
Sonny Wilcox, (Tū Tangata, Man Up Liaison) says, “The haka talks about the Tu Tangata vision which is "raising our fathers to save our children".
A number of workshops are being planned this year and those here want to share the Tū Tangata programme on marae throughout the country.