Ever been on a 4-day wilderness expedition?
Our Christchurch team ran an Adventure Therapy programme for Māori rangatahi (youth), spending four days travelling through Banks Peninsula.
The programme is called Te Māhuri which means young tree or sapling.
Day 1: Bike from Lincoln to Kaituna Valley, then tent the night there.
Day 2: Hike up and over Te Ara Pātaka summit into Te Wharau/Charteris Bay. Camp the night there.
Day 3: Plant a māhuri (seeding). Then sea kayak to the Ōtamahua DOC hut. Stay the night there.
Day 4: Sea kayak to Te Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour and walk up and over the Bridle Path into Ōtautahi/Christchurch.
April, the programme facilitator, says, “The purpose of this Adventure Therapy programme is to connect the rangatahi to their local rohe (region) and the significant places of Ngai Tahu [their tribal group], through the natural world. We discuss Māori connection to te taiao (environment) and how this impacts on our hauora (health) today. It’s a space to whakamana (empower) one another and build positive connections.”
Isn’t a 4-day expedition a lot to ask of these young people?
“Before the haerenga (journey), we do two sessions of whakawhanaungatanga (establishing relationships), which include abseiling and high ropes. Then we have a practice overnight haerenga, which was a two-day tramp with sea kayaking and mountain biking. All the pursuits are in preparation for the 4-day haerenga in the last week of the school term.”
So what’s next?
The Te Māhuri programme was created in partnership with Purapura Whetu Trust (www.pw.maori.nz), a provider of mental health services for Māori in Christchurch.
This programme (from Term 1) had 5 rangatahi who had been referred by their support worker, counsellor, social worker, youth worker, or parents. This term (Term 2), the group has expanded to 12 rangatahi, which is fantastic! We hope to continue this wonderful partnership with Purapura Whetu, to continue to empower Māori rangatahi.