Pass­ing over the ba­ton

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

Af­ter 10 years of em­pow­er­ing girls in Porirua schools, self-de­fence teacher Jan Beth is pass­ing the ba­ton to lo­cal woman Taniya Smith.

Ms Beth has taught thou­sands of Porirua pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate-age girls kicks, blocks, punches and voice tech­niques to ward off po­ten­tial at­tack­ers. She also em­pha­sises self-es­teem and pride in her charges.

‘‘ Girls are clever and brave and strong,’’ Ms Beth said. ‘‘They leave so much more con­fi­dent, walk­ing tall and proud about who they are.’’

Dozens of lo­cal schools have hosted Ms Beth’s two-day course, from Tawa and Bishop Viard in­ter­me­di­ates in the south to Tairangi School in Wai­tan­girua.

Ms Beth also teaches as far afield as Taranaki, Horowhenua and Wairarapa, reach­ing 10,000 girls a year.

‘‘It’s been awe­some. It’s been re­ally good,’’ Ms Beth said of her decade in teach­ing.

‘‘ We’re mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to our young women, which is great.’’

Her only dis­ap­point­ment was that girls were still taught more about stranger dan­ger than the much more com­mon threat from fam­ily and friends, Ms Beth said.

‘‘It’s more likely to be some­body they know. It’s pretty scary,’’ she said.

‘‘Let’s keep it in per­spec­tive: most peo- ple are good out there. But we do have to trust our feel­ings.’’

Ms Beth is mov­ing to sun­nier climes in the Bay of Plenty this spring. She will con­tinue to lead self- de­fence classes there.

Whitby woman Taniya Smith will take over from Ms Beth in Septem­ber. Ms Smith has come from an ed­u­ca­tion role at Women’s Refuge and is keen to get her teeth into her new po­si­tion.

‘‘I wanted to be able to help young girls who, if they were ever in [dan­ger] them­selves, have the tips and tech­niques to deal with it, rather than just freeze,’’ she said.

‘‘We want to es­sen­tially elim­i­nate child sex­ual abuse and vi­o­lence.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.