Te Wananga gives youths a chance

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Luani Ti­itii says his life is on the right track af­ter a year study­ing at Wananga o Aotearoa.

The 16- year- old said he had been ‘‘in a bit of trou­ble’’ prior to en­rolling but had gained valu­able em­ploy­ment skills at the Porirua cam­pus.

He is off to Bris­bane soon to seek a job in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, hope­fully as a chef or a teacher.

‘‘I’ve learnt so much, es­pe­cially about how to com­mu­ni­cate. I’m grate­ful to the tu­tors here for teach­ing me the right things and mak­ing it worth­while.

‘‘It’s set me up and made me re­ally con­fi­dent for my fu­ture,’’ he said.

Wayne Poutoa says Te Wananga o Aotearoa has been a well-kept se­cret for too long.

The founder of youth pro­gramme Streets Ahead 237 and a for­mer Porirua City coun­cil­lor has not let the grass grow un­der his feet since he stepped away from those two roles.

He now runs the fees- free, hands- on Youth Guar­an­tee scheme, funded by the Govern­ment, at the Wananga. ‘‘There are so many good things hap­pen­ing up here and the young people in our com­mu­nity are tak­ing ad­van­tage of the good cour­ses avail­able to them,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s like what we were do­ing with Streets, but on a much big­ger scale and it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing. We’re buzzing.’’

More than 120 stu­dents have ac­cess to com­puter, re­tail, vis­ual arts, per­form­ing arts, em­ploy­ment and tourism cour­ses, among oth­ers.

Arts tu­tor Jil­lian But­ler has been tu­tor­ing for five years at the Wananga.

She said watch­ing stu­dents ‘‘spread­ing their wings’’ was very re­ward­ing.

The Wananga cour­ses were a ves­sel to learn more about yourself and trans­form your life, she said.

‘‘It’s about the pas­sion and see­ing pos­i­tive changes hap­pen,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s about the people stand­ing next to you, in front of you and be­hind you. Guys like Luani had a colourful up­bring­ing and see­ing them go on to do what they want is great.’’

Mr Poutoa said the cal­i­bre of tu­tors and re­sources avail­able to young people through the Wananga was ex­cep­tional.

‘‘ You look at some of the teach­ers in­volved in the vis­ual and per­form­ing arts. Wow!

‘‘The Wananga might not have all the at­ten­tion of other in­sti­tu­tions – it’s a well- kept se­cret.

‘‘It’s time that se­cret was out,’’ he said.

Mr Poutoa said his new role gave him the flex­i­bil­ity to con­cen­trate on his fam­ily. He started as a teacher, but is en­joy­ing be­ing a man­ager.

The in­ter­ac­tion with young people and their fam­i­lies, re­mained, how­ever.

‘‘The faces might change, but what you’re try­ing to achieve doesn’t.

‘‘It’s part and par­cel of what I love do­ing and I’ll al­ways have my roots in Porirua.’’

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Con­fi­dence booster: Luani Ti­itii said what he had learnt at Te Wananga o Aotearoa had set him up for a bright fu­ture.

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