We have all gone in and out of lockdown, practised social distancing and have been on our best COVID behaviour. Luckily all our hard work in Aotearoa has paid off and we can get back to life as we knew it.
After months of not being able to work face to face with our rangatahi, we are finally all back together!! We missed them a lot – and we get the feeling they missed us too. Our rangatahi were itching to get back to our programs which was very heart-warming.
Over the second week of the school holidays (13th-17th of July), we had our very first holiday program for the year.
It was great to spend an entire week with our rangatahi – This time around we had more of our older intermediate and high school aged rangatahi which was a nice change. We missed our younger ones who were unable to make it to the program, but it allowed us to spend more quality time with our teens who are going through some challenges in their lives. Overall, the week went off without a hitch, we saw all of our rangatahi enjoying themselves, getting involved and performing proudly in front of their whānau at the end of the week.
Our week was filled with lots of fun activities, everyone got stuck in and had a great time. We did virtual reality gaming at The Cave, swam at BayWave, and had a climb at Rocktopia. We had a strong focus on physical activity and health so on the Thursday we hung out with our whānau at Sports Bay of Plenty where we learnt about how we can live healthier lifestyles, carrying on from our session we had a “dabble day” with the team from The Water Boy, where we were able to have a go at yoga, softball and rowing with Olympian Eric Murray.
As usual, our amazing Whaea Nia taught our rangatahi kapa haka all week. We practised hard for our end of program performances at the retirement village and our whānau hāngi lunch. Some of our new rangatahi didn’t know our waiata but they stuck at it and it all came together in the end. Our rangatahi performed beautifully and their praises were sung by all who watched.
Our craft activity for the week was spray painting old vinyl records with popular artists. This activity proved very popular with our rangatahi who were eager to get involved. We bought along a record player and let our rangatahi hear some of the records – they were amazed by the technology (or lack of).
Our whānau hāngi was one of our biggest yet – As well as whānau attending we had a lot of other visitors from other organisations that we work alongside. This whānau hāngi was extra special because our whānau at the Ministry of Education performed for us with some beautiful waiata and poi. It was amazing!!
We would like to thank Seeka from the bottom of our hearts for funding our holiday program! Without them, we would have to sell A LOT of sausages outside Bunnings to pay for the week. We would like the thank Good Neighbour for their amazing food that fuels us all week long. Thank you also to our staff members who do the most amazing job, and the most important job of supporting our rangatahi throughout the week; without the staff from the NZ Police and the Ministry of Education we are unable to do our job.