Confidence boosted

The latest group of young people to take part in fun and educational courses run by Maataa Waka at Waikawa Marae graduated on Friday.

The participants, aged 14 to 16, received a certificate and a taonga at a ceremony to celebrate their achievements.

Maata Waka kaimahi rangatahi [youth worker] Emma-Jaye King says the one-week long E Tipu E Rea course has been run eight times since 2012.

Each course targeted a different age group, and started with a powhiri and finished with a graduation which whanau members were invited to attend.

The courses are about building confidence and motivation. They cover outdoor activities, health and wellbeing and Maori tikanga, she says.

One day a group might go snorkling for kai moana off Karaka Point, another day they would learn about flax weaving.

"We got the rangatahi [youth] to try things that they had never experienced before."

The course was followed up by one-to-one mentoring with an adult, to further help the rangatahi on their way.

It was fantastic to watch the young people come out of themselves, she said.

"A lot of the kids really love it and usually want to come back."

Turoia Te Keeti is one of those. He had done the course before and was doing it for a second time taking on responsibility as a support person. He was among a group of young people who got up early on Friday to help kaimahi rangatahi Paora Mackie lay a hangi [an underground oven].

He explains they started work at 5.30am, digging the hole and lighting a fire to heat the irons.

Once the food was laid, and covered they kept an eye on the hangi while it cooked.

If any steam escaped the earth it was their job to shovel some more dirt onto that area.

The food was shared at the graduation ceremony.

The Marlborough Express