A video clip of Kaitaia kids doing bombs off a ladder in a dune lake has gone global with more than 300,000 views in its first 48 hours online.
The clip was posted on Monday night on the Facebook page of Kaitaia Youth Creative after a trip that day to Lake Ngatu, about 10km north of town.
A summer trip to a lake isn't the same if kids can't do bombs and Lake Ngatu has no rocks to jump off, so the trip organiser, Earl Joe, cunningly brought along a step ladder instead.
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He also took a short video, never suspecting it would be a worldwide hit. By Wednesday evening it had reached a million people, been viewed more than 300,000 times and shared 2475 times.
Yesterday it was nudging 330,000 views. Mr Joe, a pastor, had to turn his phone off to stop the flood of notifications.
The Lake Ngatu trip was an outing for a dozen children who go to Kaitaia Youth Creative's after-school sessions in a church hall on Allen Bell Drive. They were joined at the lake by another 10 or so kids.
When one of the 10-year-olds asked if they could do something in the summer holidays as well, Mr Joe organised transport, a few kayaks, boogie boards, a barbecue and the ladder for a fun day in the water. He didn't think so many other people would enjoy it too.
"It was totally unexpected. A few boys were doing back flips and bombs so I thought I'd better get a video before we packed up."
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It has been described online as Kiwi ingenuity but Mr Joe said it was not a new idea - plenty of families brought ladders to the lake for the same reason. The spot was chosen carefully with water deep enough that no one touched the bottom.
Mr Joe set up Kaitaia Youth Creative a year ago. Up to 25 kids, mostly intermediate and high school aged, met every Thursday to try activities such as slam poetry, dance and music, or just hang out and play games. It was faith-based but there was no hard sell, he said.
Mr Joe originally came to Kaitaia with plans of reviving a closed-down church but soon realised the real need was the town's youth.
His aim was to help them develop confidence and self-esteem, and encourage them to live life to the fullest. He had been struck by how much there was for kids to experience in the Far North but many lacked transport.
One of the next trips he wanted to organise was to Cape Reinga, which some Kaitaia children had never seen.
He hoped publicity generated by the video would help his cause, for example by encouraging more young adults to come along and help.
Check out the original clip on the Kaitaia Youth Creative KYC page.
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