Opotiki College

CULTURAL awareness and leadership were strong focuses for Opotiki College’s Tu Rangitahi youth last week.

The eighth programme, which takes place over the first week of each school holidays, headed for the Bay of Islands.

With 41 students and eight supporting staff, the group’s capacity was maxed out over the week.

Tu Rangitahi pou, or leadership team leader, Toiroa Williams said the week allowed students to learn about Maori culture first-hand.

“The trip looked to expose students to events that happened in the north,” he said.

“It’s about activating students’ potential.”

This included visiting the Waitangi Treaty grounds and viewing a “cultural concert”, with ex-college student Jazz Maangi.

“Afterwards, all of our students got up and performed the school haka to her,” said Mr Williams.

The group also visited Ihumataou, an opportunity to better understand the situation there.

“The students were there to understand what’s going on,” said Mr Williams.

Also on the trip, Syriah Andrews timed her interview at the Tai Tokerau campus of

Queenstown Resort College in Paihia with their visit, and was accepted to head there next year.

Ms Andrews graduated from Opotiki College last year, and has been working at the college and on the Tu Rangitahi programme since.

Danica Jones, another Opotiki student, had also been accepted to the Queenstown Resort College before the trip, and had a chance to see it in person.

“She got to see where she would be staying,” said Mr Williams.

He said the trip had once again been a success for students and staff involved.

“There were lots of fun activities,” said Mr Williams.

“The programme is about activating our students’ potential, leadership and building up long-term support for these students.”