Empowering rangatahi through mātauranga Māori by reconnecting them and their whānau to the taiao has been gaining momentum for more than a decade now.
The kaupapa Māori based programme is run by Te Kura Taiao o Mātātoa known as Time2Train which is now in its 14th consecutive year.
“When we travel around the country showcasing and teaching others what we do, they are up front, standing proud, doing the do," says Te Kura Taiao o Mātātoa co-founder Frank Haimona.
"Before, they would sit back and kind of hide in the shadows. But now, I guess it's the whakatauākī that Matua Kingi brought up: 'Hara mai te Māori - they have arrived,”' says Haimona.
There are more than 2,500 rangatahi enrolled in the programme, that first started in Kaikohe in 2011-2012.
Most rangatahi didn't know much about tikanga, karakia, himene, waiata and pūrākau, he says.
"They are now so proficient in what we do, because we do it every day and they are proud to be Māori."
The programme offers rangatahi with practical life skills associated with the natural environment like water safety, māra kai, Māori physical activity in a way that is fun, challenging and uniquely Māori called Rākau Matarua and more.
The kaupapa is growing into Te Waipounamu, Heretaunga, Te Tai Tokerau, Manawatū, Te Whanganui-a-Tara and hopes to expand into Australia this year.
"If you have reo, you have tikanga, mātauranga Māori, you will have a job anywhere and that's exactly what this kaupapa is about," says Haimona.
"We teach all of our rangatahi what we know and what's been passed down to us and opportunities are huge at the moment," he says.
The programme also offers academic value with a course following the diploma of Mātauranga Māori. Last year, two students have completed the diploma, and two mare are starting this year.
For more information visit the website here.