Young men from a Whangārei school have learned they are capable of more than they think after completing an indigenous leadership course.

Twelve senior students from Te Kāpehu Whetū took part in the course, facilitated by John Panoho - co author of Wayfinding Leadership, last month.

It started with a 14km cycle on the Twin Coast Cycle Trail, and then the students spent four days in Aurere - the home of the late Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi.

"It taught me stuff I didn't think I was capable of doing," said student Cruz-Santana Broughton.


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The boys said none of them had done a lot of cycling, and while the weather was good at the start the rain crept up near the end.

Cruz-Santana said he and another student were the only two who did not pull out of the cycle due to injury and exhaustion.

"I did it, and I went through the rain too.

"It was our first task. That was hard - the hills [were hard]," he said.

Following the cycle the students stopped for lunch before making their way to Aurere.

The boys said during their time in Aurere they were immersed in a range of team building activities. They said they also did "heaps of cooking", made traps, planted trees and learned about connections to the bush.

"We learned team building and leadership," said student Cruz-Santana.


"Some of us got teamed up with people we usually don't work with and we learned to work with them," said 18-year-old Te Tahi Eruera.

The boys said they would have loved to learn more about celestial navigation, but enjoyed the course overall.