Topic: Youth

Rangatahi share their stories - Part One

By Te Kāea
  • Auckland

A special project where rangatahi share their inspiring stories is being launched on Māori Television.

The stories of four students from Vanguard Military School in Albany, Auckland follow the journeys of rangatahi who had fallen through the cracks.

In part one of this web series, 17-year-old Parris Bryant reveals how her life fell apart six years ago.

“Up until I was like 11 everything was normal.  It was a normal family life, go to the park, getting ice-creams, stuff like that and then my father went to prison and it just tore the family apart,” says Parris.

Her coping mechanism was to self-harm until she was enrolled at Vanguard, one of New Zealand’s Partnership Schools, which uses the ethos and training of the military to help students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Now, Parris gets up at 5.30am to catch two trains and four buses for her two-hour journey from Manurewa to school.

“At my old school I used to struggle to get out of bed and it was 10 minutes away.  Now I’ve got the motivation I want and need to get out of bed.”

Students were interviewed by Māori doctor and former New Zealander of the Year, Dr Lance O’Sullivan for The Moko Foundation.

“I was failed by mainstream education myself until I found the education model that was right for me and encouraged me to focus on what I could be, rather than constantly being told that I was unlikely to make any positive contribution to society,” he said.

Dr O’Sullivan is challenging politicians and decision makers to listen to the success stories of rangatahi from Partnership Schools ahead of the government review of New Zealand’s education system.

For Parris, a different approach went well beyond the classroom.

“I actually feel like I’m good enough now.  That was really hard before.”

For more information visit: www.themokofoundation.com