Pos­i­tive ap­proach

Old wis­dom aids youth

North Waikato News - - Front Page - By FRANCES FER­GU­SON

Em­pow­er­ing young girls to be­come pos­i­tive, strong role mod­els is the driv­ing force be­hind a new youth group in Huntly.

Kaiti­aki Noki­noki, or lit­tle guardians, is made up of girls be­tween the ages of 3 and 13.

Us­ing a 150- year old Maori strat­egy, the model is aimed at pro­vid­ing young girls with an op­por­tu­nity to reach their full po­ten­tial in a pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment.

Huntly dad and re­spected com­mu­nity man Brad To­torewa de­cided to use the Maori model as a plat­form to fight back against neg­a­tive statis­tics and to give fam­i­lies a tool to use to bet­ter their chil­dren’s lives.

‘‘The group stems from a de­sire

to im­prove and pro­vide op­por­tu­nity for young Maori girls and young Maori boys,’’ To­torewa said.

‘‘It’s a strat­egy to pro­vide another op­por­tu­nity to grow our kids in a more pos­i­tive space,’’ he said.

‘‘Some of the key neg­a­tive driv­ers that have helped us put this to­gether were poverty, the high crime rate around Huntly, is­sues around the youth, par­ty­ing, al­co­hol, drugs, all that kind of stuff. We need to try and change things.’’

After at­tend­ing a peace fo­rum in South Korea this year, To­torewa and his fam­ily were mo­ti­vated to start up a Marei Kura at which the Kaiti­aki Noki­noki will be taught. It will fo­cus on us­ing Maori tikanga, kau­papa and prac­tices. To­torewa and his team plan to launch the school in March next year as well as a group for young boys.

‘‘The strat­egy be­hind Marei Kura and Kaiti­aki Noki­noki is about re­turn­ing to the womb and re teach­ing our girls and boys the val­ues of life, build­ing and strength­en­ing their character, en­hanc­ing their in­di­vid­ual po­ten­tial and in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter­is­tics. It’s not about re­mov­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties from mums and dads but it’s about pro­vid­ing another op­tion of en­hanc­ing teach­ing in fam­i­lies,’’ said To­torewa.

Marei Kura will op­er­ate as a char­i­ta­ble trust, which will work with iwi around the coun­try.

‘‘What we en­vi­sion is that com­mu­nity around Waikato can opt to run a Marei Kura club at their marae. They would have to reg­is­ter – we give them the cur­ricu­lum and sub­jects and they can con­tex­tu­alise it to their en­vi­ron­ment. We en­vi­sion that this will go all around New Zealand.’’

Kaiti­aki Noki­noki is the first part of that process with around 20 girls, who have been work­ing on com­mu­nity projects since Au­gust.

Teach­ing the prin­ci­ple of giv­ing, the group re­cently baked, dec­o­rated and pack­aged sweet treats for kau­matua.

‘‘We be­lieve in the in­ter gen­er­a­tional trans­mis­sion of knowl­edge. The one thing that brings us to­gether is sport and kapa haka. There’s no other strat­egy or project out there that unites Maori.

‘‘We’re not say­ing that this is an ex­clu­sively Maori project be­cause any­one can come and join. It’s just driven by Maori kau­papa,’’ said To­torewa.

EM­POW­ER­ING: Kir­i­tokia Turner and Brad To­torewa are teach­ing girls in Kaiti­aki Noki­noki, Ngahuia Eke­tone, 12, Tau­rewa To­torewa, 6, Nga Mako To­torewa, 11 and Merepaea Eke­tone, 9, to be­come pos­i­tive role mod­els.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.