100 Ngāti Kahungunu rangatahi hīkoi to fight suicide

By Aroha Treacher
Te Taitimu Trust CEO Zack Makoare (far left) with rangatahi / Source - File

Mental health and wellbeing is the focus of a youth hīkoi to the South Island for more than 100 Kahungunu rangatahi. The Hīkoi of Hope 2020 wants to build resilience in youth for the modern age.

“Some of our kids come from gang backgrounds, the suicide backgrounds, behavioural backgrounds so we’ve got many different organisations supporting us today,” says Zack Makoare CEO Te Taitimu Trust

Organised by Te Taitimu Trust, the hīkoi is supported by various community leaders including police.

“It’s good to get kids interacting with the police and seeing that they’re not bad people,” says Monty Timu, youth leader, Te Taitimu Trust.

“We have 25% of our kids that are at risk the other 75% of our kids and whānau are all great what we’re trying to do is utilise the expertise of those whānau that have got great kids and great role models as parents,” says Makoare.

Now in it’s 13th year, teaching whakapapa and water safety are key components.

“We’ve seen dynamics of different kids coming through and the changes that they have is unbelievable especially using water as a vehicle, and Tangaroa and Hinemoana as that space,” says Rob Hewitt Water Safety New Zealand.

The goal is to see those changes exist far beyond the last day of camp.

“We’ve got about 12 kids that we’re meeting along the way that have now got jobs and are working in the defence force or working in the police college and so on.”

The 10 day trip will take them to Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

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