CYF teens win­ners on much-needed touch rugby out­ing

For­mer Pol­ish PM vis­its

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

A day out play­ing touch at Te Rau­paraha Park last week was ex­tra spe­cial for a group of teenagers who live un­der the care of Child, Youth and Fam­ily.

In the first event of its kind, 30 CYF wards aged 13 to 16 from around the re­gion sprinted, dodged and tack­led along­side 20 of their care work­ers dur­ing a re­gional touch rugby tour­na­ment last Wed­nes­day.

The young peo­ple all grew up in vi­o­lent or un­safe homes and live in group houses in Lower Hutt. The homes are a last re­sort for wards of the state when foster fam­i­lies can­not be found, and are a com­mon res­i­dence for teenagers in CYF care. Twenty of the teens live in a se­cure home in Epuni where they have limited move­ment for their own pro­tec­tion, so a day out would have been a treat, says CYF Greater Welling­ton op­er­a­tions man­ager Chris Har­vey.

‘‘Just like any young kid, they’re keen on any­thing where they’re mix­ing with each other and hav­ing fun, hav­ing a laugh,’’ he says. ‘‘All of these kids would have had quite a bit of sad­ness in their lives at some point and our job is to move them into their adult lives.’’

The tour­na­ment was an op­por­tu­nity for the teens, who have come as far as Gis­borne and New Ply­mouth, to make friends with oth­ers like them in the re­gion.

‘‘They’ve got sim­i­lar life sto­ries to tell so they un­der­stand each other,’’ Mr Har­vey says.

De­spite the Epuni se­cure home’s care work­ers tow­er­ing over their charges, the teens thrashed their guardians on the day. The win­ners had an ace up their sleeve how­ever – one of their num­ber rep­re­sented Waikato in a rugby league un­der-16 team last year.

The day was a real suc­cess, CYF spokes­woman Me­gan Hub­bard says.

‘‘It’s just fab­u­lous see­ing them hav­ing these ex­pe­ri­ences . . . it’s an op­por­tu­nity for these kids to be kids again.’’ Plim­mer­ton res­i­dent Ula Tans­ley, an ar­chiv­ist with Archives New Zealand, was the right per­son in the right place when for­mer Pol­ish pres­i­dent Alek­sander Kwas­niewski vis­ited the Welling­ton ar­chive re­cently.

Ms Tans­ley, of Pol­ish na­tion­al­ity, has been in New Zealand for just a year and was able to show Mr Kwas­niewski some archives re­lat­ing to the Pol­ish chil­dren who came to New Zealand dur­ing World War II. ‘‘Mr Kwas­niewski was most in­ter­ested in doc­u­ments re­flect­ing the life of the chil­dren in the Pahiatua camp set up for them near Palmer­ston North, their day-to-day life, ed­u­ca­tion and doc­u­ments re­flect­ing their jobs as­pi­ra­tion,’’ said Ms Tans­ley.

‘‘He also looked at the film we have in the Na­tional Film Unit Col­lec­tion which shows the chil­dren ar­riv­ing and set­tling in New Zealand. He en­joyed this hand­son view of his na­tional his­tory.’’

Mr Kwas­niewski is cred­ited with fi­nal­is­ing and sign­ing Poland’s Con­sti­tu­tion in 1997.


Cul­tural con­nec­tion: Plim­mer­ton res­i­dent and na­tional ar­chiv­ist Ula Tans­ley and for­mer pres­i­dent of Poland Alek­sander Kwas­niewski delve into the his­tory books.

Pep talk: Thirty teenagers un­der the care of Child, Youth and Fam­ily (CYF) got a so­cial day out and glee­fully thrashed CYF staff at a re­gional touch rugby tour­na­ment last Wed­nes­day. CYF Greater Welling­ton op­er­a­tions man­ager Chris Har­vey joined teens for a team talk.

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