For the third year running, Moerewa has sent one of its young men (taiohi) to the Outward Bound School in Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds.

The Community Learning Centre (Pou Herenga Tangata) based at Moerewa's He Iwi Kotahi Tatou Trust identifies potential candidates from Moerewa and surrounding areas and supports them to attend Outward Bound's 21-day Classic programme designed for 18- to 26-year-olds.

Te Kauri McPherson was the first to attend the course in 2014. He has since gone on to become a youth councillor with the Far North District Council. Last year, Padray Brown attended the course and is now in Auckland training to be a teacher.

This year it was the turn of Te Wana Hati, and before setting off for Anakiwa he did not know what the trip entailed.


"I was clueless," he said candidly. "I went there, signed my life away and it was a shock to the system."

The course consisted of tramping, physical training, rock climbing and sailing, and included a three-day bush solo experience. There was also an element of psychological assessment, or what Te Wana calls "the mental stuff". Then there were the early-morning runs.

"After we had done the run we had to jump into the water of the Sounds and it was freezing!" he said. But the discipline has stuck and since returning to Moerewa last week, Te Wana is still running every morning and trying to get his four sisters to go with him - although he admits that plan hasn't always been successful.

What he got from the course was more confidence and to realise he needs to spend more time with his family, he said.

He currently works at Affco's meat processing plant in Moerewa but would like to work outdoors, and if the right opportunity came up he would take it.

Te Wana will pass on the baton. Graduates from Outward Bound receive a certificate inside a casing that sets out all the achievements of the course, and Te Wana wants to give that to younger Moerewa kids he thinks might benefit.

Suz Te Tai, one of the facilitators from Pou Herenga Tangata, said a bond based on common experience has been formed between the three young men at Outward Bound.

"Te Wana has been supported and encouraged by Te Kauri and Padray," she said, "and that will impact on their community because they are positive role models."