Rangatahi learning through adventure at Lake Rotoiti

They may not have expected snow in January, but it was an added highlight for 55 rangatahi who got to be a part of a three-day recreation adventure at Lake Rotoiti this year.

This wānanga was the first of several adventures by Sport Tasman as part of their Regional Active Recreation Advisor pilot (RARA) and Kohine Maia projects.

Co-designed with rangatahi, the adventure aimed to provide opportunities to build confidence, connect with the whenua, and collaborate while having fun with friends in the stunning playground of Nelson Lakes National Park.

The action-packed agenda included activities such as raft building and racing, traditional Māori games, high ropes, yoga sessions and abseiling.

“This adventure pushed the boundaries of what is expected of active recreation and then packed it full of so much more goodness and value for the rangatahi,” says Lesley McIntosh-Richards, Innovation Manager Active Recreation at Sport Tasman.

Lesley says the wānanga appealed to such a range of personalities and was successful in bringing together young people from across  Te Tauihu (upper South Island) to work as a team, overcome fears together and support one another.

“Watching the evolution of engagement of some of these rangatahi over the three-day period was such a highlight. Getting to see how different activities and cultural experiences linked to their individual interests, especially to those who are normally very introverted, was amazing.”

“The RARA project overall is using Active Recreation to tap into something bigger for rangatahi - whether this be connection with the whenua, the Māori Culture, creating a sense of pride in themselves or where they come from, and connecting with others.”

Insights showed that while on this trip the rangatahi showed

  • improved knowledge of the local Māori culture and myths,
  • 100% of youth were proud of themselves for making new friends and pushing past their own internal barriers to participating if they had them (height, water, shyness etc)
  • They felt the trip was successful due to team work, respect of each other and trying something new
  • 100% enjoyed activities taking place in a national park and having new experiences
  • 99% of youth wanted the trip to be longer

The recreation adventure from Sport Tasman was funded and/or supported by a range of stakeholders interested in contributing to youth wellbeing, including Sport NZ Ngāti Apa ki Te Rā Tō, Rotoiti Lodge Outdoor Education Centre, Red Cross Nelson, Youth Town Greymouth, Kawatiri Yoga Collective,  Youth Trust, DHB and Marlborough Youth Trust to name a few.

Group pose on river bank with inflatables

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