Our young people are amazing and brave. They are no longer in mainstream school because of behavioural issues or truanting, and are recruited from the alternative education classrooms we partner with in South Auckland. 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 artists, but as young people wanting to find their voice and wanting to be heard. With us, through creativity, they learn to trust in themselves and others. They build the confidence they need to return to school, move into tertiary study or find 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!
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.
I’m looking forward to Manawa Ora because I enjoy going to the city, everyone is there and it’s a solid creative space. I’m looking forward to performing, I love the food and the hot chocolates from EightThirty too!
Invisible Threads to me, means togetherness intertwined, like a spider web. The invisible threads are the love and connection weshare. We share everything, the good and the bad because we know each other, and have a lot of things in common.
I’m looking forward to working with the crew this year in Manawa Ora, from the teaching artists to us rangatahi and a collective performance, it will be cool to see what we create together!
Invisible Threads to me means all the things we’ve done that can’t be seen. It’s the quiet human things we do like the background things. We’re all connected through our common interest of performing arts and Ngā Rangatahi Toa, through wānanga we’re able to identify our commonalities and create a strong bond.
I’m looking forward to Manawa Ora because it’s not just about the performance. Also how intense it’s going to be, and how much stronger and closer it’s going to make us and our relationships. It’s been like a rollercoaster this year and I feel stronger in it than I did last year.
Invisible Threads to me means being connected like right now. We’ll be connected to each other no matter where we are. Like in times of need, we just know they need us, because we’re connected.
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.