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Safe space: Mana Tahuna rangatahi lead and engagement manager Sydney Wallace in Mana Tahuna's new digs for young people

By CASS MARRETT

Queenstown charitable trust Mana Tahuna opened a new hub for rangatahi (young
people) yesterday.

Te Hoeroa is located on the ground floor of Remarkables Park’s Toru Apartments, and
aims to connect young Maori to their culture.

But it’s also open to kids of all ages, of any ethnicity.

The hub will run a programme, ‘Ka Hao te Rakatahi’, introducing rangatahi to different aspects of te ao Maori, including art, medicine, and tukutuku panels.

Mana Tahuna rangatahi lead and engagement manager Sydney Wallace says the idea
has been in development for about six months, and hits close to home for many at the
trust.

‘‘Myself, our CEO, and COO, we all grew up [in the Whakatipu] and we’re all Maori,’’ she says.

‘‘When we were growing up, there weren’t that many things related to kaupapa Maori in
school, so we didn’t have a te reo Maori class, we had a small kapa haka group and stuff like that.

‘‘We [saw] that there was a big gap — something that was really needed right now — just a space outside of school to show them their culture,’’ Wallace says.

The hub’s hired a youth worker and Mana Tahuna’s looking to get a social worker on board to help parents as well.

‘‘We want it to be a safe space for parents to come and talk to us during school hours, with anything they want — if they’re having troubles at home, they can come and talk to us,’’ Wallace says.

The hub’s jointly funded by Mana Tahuna, the philanthropic family J R McKenzie Trust and Central Lakes Trust.

It’ll be open five days a week and is free to attend.

cass.marrett@scene.co.nz