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Initiative gets rangatahi moving

Initiative gets rangatahi moving

Young people laughing during a school activity

A programme to encourage rangatahi to try new physical activities has proven successful at Auckland’s Māngere College.

Auckland’s Māngere College finished last year on a high, marking a huge attendance rate on the last day of the year thanks to a new physical activity programme called The Big Move.

More than 550 students took part in a full school “have a go” day that gave them a chance to try 16 different activities in a fun and inclusive environment. It also included students from their satellite school Sir Keith Hay.

It proved so successful Māngere College recorded its best-ever attendance on the last day of term four.

“Attendance at the end of the year can be a struggle for any secondary school but The Big Move changed that in this instance - we even had ex-students coming in to take part,” says CLM Community Sport Rangatahi Recreation Adviser Natalie McNulty.

With funding from Tū Manawa Active Aotearoa through CLM Community Sport, the initiative was co-designed with students and run in collaboration with school staff and 19 local providers.

“Prior to the event we ran sessions on what active recreation is and can be and gave our rangatahi a blank canvas to choose activities. They chose the dynamic of the groups and the inclusion of the school kāinga colours,” says Natalie. 

“Working with providers helped to support the local community and to offer students opportunities to continue their engagement with active recreation beyond the event. A list of opportunities outside of school were provided to students to continue connecting.”

From boxing and martial arts to hip hop and siva afi (Samoan fire dancing) students say The Big Move gave them a chance to try new things, spend time with friends and do something other than classwork that helped their overall wellbeing and stress levels. 

“Mental health is a significant issue within the school. Working with the wellbeing team meant we were able to align it with mental health awareness week,” says Natalie.

Rangatahi running across a field holding rescue packs


One student said it was a great way to finish their high school years and a great experience to have with their school mates.

Another said: ‘I enjoyed The Big Move because there were a variety of activities to participate in and there were things I could do which were out of my comfort zone”.

Teachers also said it helped to grow school spirit and culture and some even discovered their own love for the likes of ‘xtreme hip hop’.

Watching students try new activities and give things a go was a highlight for teacher aide PJ Campbell.

“Seeing the genuine happiness of our students as they engaged in activities they may never have done before was amazing.” 

As a result of The Big Move, the school’s boxing programme has had increased interest from students and there are plans to train students in siva afi and xtreme hip hop so they can, in turn, run sessions at school.

There are also plans to set up an archery club and get the school’s rock wall back in working order. 

Best of all, The Big Move is likely to make a return to Māngere College again in 2024.

“The success of this event is all down to the collaboration,” says Natalie.

“The students showed real organisation and leadership and staff weren’t afraid to jump in and be vulnerable trying out activities with students on the day. 

“Māngere College has an amazing wellbeing group that really understands the needs of their young people and the support needed for their wellbeing.”

Boy on a skateboard holding a red flag

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