Kōkiri 26 – Waikato: The Rangatira Within

Published in Kōkiri 26, Ngahuru - Autumn 2012

Tokoroa rangatahi who participated in the Tū Toa programme showed off a new sense of confidence to their parents and whānau at a three-day wānanga.

Tū Toa was delivered through Kaitoko Whānau provider Raukawa Charitable Trust and the Whānau Integration, Innovation and Engagement (WIIE) Fund.

Kaitoko Whānau Co-ordinator Kairon Kaponga works with young people and puts them through their paces on the Tū Toa programme, which includes mixed Martial Arts.

“The Tū Toa program has changed the lives of our young men and revealed the rangatira who have been dormant for many years – in them and their parents,” Kairon said. “What had become ‘normal’ in their lives had kept them prisoner.

“The lay-out for the three days was a demonstration of what our rangatahi have learnt in the Tū Toa programme and encourage their parents to maybe have a go and ultimately become more actively involved as a whānau unit. The big focus is to try and show them some alternative ways of living and to get them excited in their own lives again.”

Together parents and their children took part in fitness exercises, mixed Martial Arts, and learnt about nutrition and healthy eating.

“A nutritionist taught our whānau some cost effective ways to eat healthy,” Kairon said. “Many have spent most of their lives eating boil ups and fried food. Whānau were blown away that food does not have to cost the world to be healthy. In the end they learnt a lot about their own eating habits.”

Kairon said that the thrill of doing something new and challenging excited parents and “they never cared how fast or slow they were going”.

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