Patea woman runs independent holiday programme for rangatahi

By Mare Haimona-Riki

A wahine Māori has started her own independently operated holiday programme for the local rangatahi in the small South Taranaki town of Patea.

Nikaiya Parker (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngaruahine, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Porou) was born and raised in Patea but moved away after high school.

When she returned to her home, she noticed the rangatahi in the community were bored "out of their minds". So she decided to run a school holiday programme.

"We don't really have much in terms of opportunities for them so I wanted to just create something where they could come along, be confident and comfortable and a cure for boredom really."

Since the programme started around this time last year, they've had a disco, community clean-ups, cooking lessons, all  orchestrated by Parker, in and around her fulltime mahi. 

"We did scavenger hunts, beach cleans, chalk art, and at night we did star gazing, movie nights, and at the end, we did a disco."

Parker is funding the programme all out of her own pocket, as she refuses to ask parents for money but says, if they did have a little more funding, she could run the programme every holiday instead of just twice ayear.

"The community support in Patea has been amazing," Parker says.