"He Tīmatanga Hou" is a mentoring programme under Bros for Change - that aims to uplift and edify Māori boys through mātauranga Māori, while also equipping them with practical life skills. Run by former NZ Rugby League player Jaye Pukepuke, the programme has been so successful that they are currently booked out until 2022.
The six-month programme based out of Christchurch includes mentors who Pukepuke says have already ‘walked that troubled path’.
“There's a sense of we've been there done that so from our mistakes we can take those learnings to them," he says.
The course takes on only 12 boys at a time, aged between 15 and 24. As part of their hands-on approach, the group can go from hiking mountains, diving, hunting - all infused with tikanga Māori.
“It was the journey of kaupapa Māori that really accelerated my own path of identity so that's one of the most important parts of this programme is before you're going anywhere, who you are now,” says Pukepuke.
Bros for Change celebrate its fifth birthday this year and have seen changes in so many of the boys that have come through their course that they hope to start a virtual version in the near future.
“We definitely see a change in them thinking about what they wanna [sic] do and thinking about the consequences of their choices and being more confident and wanting to learn more of te ao Māori.”
The next course starts in Kaikoura on July 21 with one-on-one mentoring continuing in Christchurch.