National | Rangatahi

Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi's dream now a reality

Te Ora Hou in Christchurch, which is part of a network of faith-based youth and community development groups working with young people, has had a 40-year-long dream.

Now that dream has been realised by the Rātā Foundation, which has funded a new youth centre and Māori programme for rangatahi at Te Ora Hou.

Youth Manager Sala Matai'a Salatielu Tiatia said the new youth centre had solidified the organisation's Māori organisation status. "Having this site completed has authenticated that we're Maori, we look Maori, and a lot of our programmes we run through a Maori lens.”

Te Ora Hou has helped more than 1,800 young people in the past year, from holiday programmes to working with schools across New Zealand.

One of the main goals of this organisation is to have a relationship with not only the child but with the wider whānau, so that the generational barrier can be overcome.

“We go out of our way to have face-to-face contact with whānau," social worker Amanda Carolyn Smith says. "We make sure they know who we are because we offer a bunch of other services, so we have a lot of social services that whānau can tap into. So that breaks down a lot of barriers for them.

"Often whānau can't navigate certain services like MSD or Oranga Tamariki or even just education itself, so when we are able to have that face-to-face, we are able to help them be advocates or at least empower them to have a voice.”

Dreams realised through new rangatahi Māori program.

She says people prayed and prayed for unique spaces like the whare and chape where tamariki, rangatahi, whānau and the wider community can all gather in one place, and connect with themselves, each other, and their whakapapa.

These young people now have the opportunity to grow in a safe space, she says.

One rangatahi says: “The environment is really, really hyped up and it's just like a safe place to come. If you don't know anyone, you can just come. Everyone is really friendly and just, yeah, just really inclusive.”

With five centres around Aotearoa, there is a lot of support there for rangatahi. Some of the programmes offered at Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi include in-school youth programmes/services, Te Kaupapa Whakaora alternative education, Rangatahi Tū Rangatira – an in-school leadership programme for Year 7-13s; after-school youth programmes/services (for rangatahi who live in northwest Christchurch) Monday night clubs – an after-school programme for Year 9 – 13s; Te Pihi Ora – an after-school programme for Year 7 and 8s; Whakapakari – a leadership programme; holiday programmes.