Our young people are not only amazing and brave, but given the space they are real clear about what tools they need to make it in this life.
We believe at one point or another everyone is vulnerable, our young people are more susceptible in our current climate. The young people involved with Ngā Rangatahi Toa have made a real commitment to changing their own lives through creativity and hard work. They don’t come to us as creatives, or with the intention that they might be any good at anything creative – but what they do have is a motivation to trying something new, learn some skills that will equip them as they navigate those teenage years in highly vulnerable situations with an open heart.
We provide them that safe space to be vulnerable, explore, navigate and find a physical language through movement, words or voice that they learn to stand in the power that lies within them. We elicit their strengths, then work with those strengths creatively. That creativity soon translates back into learning or employment.
We believe in building their protective factors through creativity, learning and deep connection so our young people are smarter, safer and wiser to navigate their life’s journey.
We are always guided by the young person and we let them not only co-design our programmes but also co-design their power steps that they make in the world.
Our young people partner with some of our phenomenal businesses, who are an extension of us and take them onto those next steps of employment.
Our graduates are out there in the world being awesome. Many have moved on from our programs and returned successfully to mainstream education, working towards achieving NCEA Levels 2 and 3. Others have graduated from degree-level courses, been employed as teacher aides to run their own creative arts and literacy programs, have returned to teach at the youth justice facility where they were once a ‘guest’, starred in short films and TV ads, performed at leading Auckland theatres and committed to part-time work while studying. Some have come full circle and are now mentors to other young people who are in the same place they were once in.
We do creative things to perform to people and I’m looking forward to presenting myself for my family to see. I’m looking forward to what we will create as a group. Invisible Threads means relationships, like a commitment you’re making to someone else and considering them, not just yourself. It sounds like relying on trust and communication, and trusting in something you can’t always see, but relying on your feelings, trusting your instincts.
Invisible Threads means natural connections with friends, family, nature on a wairua level, and having connection to my culture. It feels pretty mean to be involved in Manawa Ora, lots of nerves but really excited, with lots of emotions!
I like performing arts. I look forward to getting to know everyone more and practicing with my group coz I’m real comfortable with them. Invisible Threads means, invisible strings, connections with people and the world we live in.
They are the bonds between me and another person, where I feel I won’t be judged.
Manawa Ora means trying new things, meeting new people I haven’t been around, and being in different places. It’s going out of my comfort zone and having new experiences, and learning about the arts and performing.
Invisible Threads means making new connections, and having connections that I didn’t always know were there to help me. We were strangers and now we’re close friends. We got close real fast. We shared our feelings and I don’t feel judged, we’re all the same, we’re all on the same level.
We do creative things to perform to peopleand I’m looking forward to presenting myself for my family to see. I’m looking forward to what we will create as a group. Invisible Threads means relationships, like a commitment you’remaking to someone else and considering them, not just yourself. It sounds like relying on trust and communication, and trusting in something you can’t always see, but relying on your feelings, trusting your instincts.
Ngā Rangatahi Toa is solid. They have helped me gain confidence with performing in front of people. NRT has helped me with heaps of stuff in my personal life. I’ve learnt that we are not going to get anywhere without putting ourselves out there. Ngā Rangatahi found me in my darkest days when I was being stupid; they helped me turn my life around. I’m looking for a job now.
I’ve met new people through NRT and I’ve taken on a leadership role. I look forward to motivating and encouraging people to be a part of our whānau.
NRT is family. I feel like I’m a better person having been here and sticking around. The mentor/rangatahi dynamic work really well. There is an absence of the usual authoritarian vibe here and it creates an atmosphere where people can feel respected and reciprocated. The mentors are our guides and we walk the path.
Our check-in process and gratitude circle is really important. The check-in process is when everyone comes together and takes turns answering a series of questions based around what you are grateful for, how you’re feeling, how you have been looking after yourself, and what you need from the group. It keeps everybody accountable to each other and creates a support system of open mindedness. It’s a refreshingly different way of doing things.
This year, I’m not really sure what is happening for Manawa Ora. I’m taking it from a different perspective this year; We’ve got a new crew so the vibe is different. It’s my second time around so I’m not the new kid anymore. I’m interested to see how it all comes together.
Ngā Rangatahi Toa has taught me more about who I am. They push me to my limit. I’ve learnt that I’m a humble person. Before I met the NRT whānau I was getting into trouble, normal teenage stuff if you grow up in the Southside, but now I’m more of a soft person. I’ve learnt new things like doing yoga, and I know I’m going to do my breathing before I get on stage. NRT is a place where I can be vulnerable and not be judged.
NRT to me is a place where I feel open to be myself because everyone is welcoming. Since being a part of NRT I’ve learnt how to talk in front of people. I didn’t use to do that. At NRT they tell us that there are no wrong answers. I’m excited about getting on stage and connecting with people who like the same stuff as me. I like painting and I’ve recently started writing poetry.
NRT is an organisation that motivates kids to be the best that they can. I joined NRT in July and I’ve already learnt more about myself, not personality wise but I’ve learnt how to open up myself more. I can be myself when I’m here. At NRT they genuinely want to know how you are and how you’re doing. It’s different from school, they really pay attention to who you are. They zoom up on you, they are in-depth with their students. In order for NRT to motivate us we need to be open about ourselves.
I’m really looking forward to working with Chris not only because he knows how to do everything I’m interested in but that I’ll also be learning about the knowledge he has about videography.
To me, Ngā Rangatahi Toa is a group of kind people. I love to chill with the people who are there, I have a lot of respect for them. I am really looking forward to Manawa Ora, to learn more about art. My mentor Sarah will help me go further with my art. Art is my passion!
I’m Samoan 13, I come from a big family – I’ve got six siblings. I’m the oldest, it’s hard work.
I’m really into music. If you’re sad some songs can cheer you up, like Bob Marley. I’m feeling a bit scared about being on stage, I’ve never performed in front of this many people before, but I’m looking forward to working with others and sharing my talents.
Freedom means beings able to go into your own world and find your calm place.
Ngā Rangatahi Toa makes me feel confident about myself because they are all positive. They make me feel comfortable every time I am around them. I’m mostly excited to be working with Dom on Manawa Ora. Our topic is bullying. It’s a hard topic for anyone to talk about, but it impacts so many lives. If I talk about it other people might open up about being bullied. This is me being courageous.
Ngā Rangatahi Toa has taught me how to be a leader. I’ve never really seen myself as a leader but thanks to NRT I have been put into a leadership role. My advice to young people in the future is to stay in school and just be yourself. There is no point in being someone you’re not. One thing I like about NRT is that they really show you love & kindness. I am looking forward to Manawa Ora simply because I love being on stage. In the future, I am looking forward to continuing with my dance and working full-time so I can save up and own my very own dance studio.
Ngā Rangatahi Toa is a creative arts programme where you find solid vibes. NRT has taught me how to stay out of trouble and get out of the house and communicate with people. NRT has also taught me that I have potential to do anything and everything I choose.
I’m into soul music, I’m going to be singing for Manawa Ora. I’m excited and nervous.
Ngā Rangatahi Toa have helped me build a lot of confidence. I was shy when I started and I tend to tell myself negative stories about myself. NRT inspires me and makes me know that I have potential. I’m excited about getting myself out there, maybe have my face on a mural! I’m also excited about learning from Owen, and him teaching me how to use different equipment.
I’ve got four siblings. I’m Maori, born and raised up in Mangere. Mangere is a good place and a bad place.
Music is powerful. It changes my mood and can calm me down or make my hype. I’m into hip hop, rap, reggae and Spanish songs. I’m hoping to sing for Manawa Ora. I’ve written a song once, it was hard work. To write a song you have to think about what beats fit into it and making it sound good. I’m feeling confident about Manawa Ora and trying something new. I hope you enjoy!
Freedom means free space and coming out of something that was bad.
Ngā Rangatahi Toa changed my life. Through being involved in Manawa Ora I met my boss. I went from being kicked outta school, on the wrong path, to now working at a primary school, teaching kids and building their confidence. None of this would’ve happened without Ngā Rangatahi Toa. My next step is training in teaching and giving back to the youth coming up, telling them what I went through and how to stay strong. Ngā Rangatahi Toa showed me that I can achieve my dreams.
Ngā Rangatahi Toa is amazing, the people are warm and good and make me feel loved. They’ve helped me to believe that there is more to life than getting drunk and hanging on the streets. I have done Manawa Ora with Anika Moa. I’m so excited about being a part of it, to write songs and to sing. I’m so grateful that I get this opportunity.