It had been a big year for the R Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust, executive trustee Jane Hindle said on the release of the annual report for 2018-19.
"Our financial year finishes at the end of May, and in writing our annual report it always feels such a long time ago that the activities referred to took place, particularly so this year as, since then we completed our schedule of youth voyages, completed a significant maintenance programme and are part way through the Tuia 250 voyage, proudly representing Te Tai Tokerau," she said.
Highlights of the year included moving into a purpose-built building at the end of the wharf in Paihia, replacing the "slum" conditions of the shed that had been home, working with Special Olympians and trainees on the Far North Holdings-sponsored voyage to develop their leadership skills even further, and taking 188 trainees on life-changing voyages around the North.
Programmes designed to build in additional modules on cultural components about the region were further developed, and Otago University had been supported in carrying out qualitative analyses and interviews with trainees.
The trust had achieved an improved surplus of $47,616, and contributed grants of $65,214 towards the costs of trainee voyage placements. A second cadet, a former trainee who was now working towards his skipper's ticket, had been signed up for the cadetship programme.
"One of the most pleasing things is that we are now seeing siblings and other whānau members taking up the opportunity to go on a voyage," Ms Hindle said.
"Word of mouth is the best form of advertising that anyone can have, and we are delighted that the word is spreading through schools and communities.
"On the downside, we still only have a few key sponsors who continue to support our work. We'd dearly love a few more people to sign up and support our young people to access a voyage. The majority of families have genuine hardship and are simply unable to pay for a place, even a subsidised one.
"The trust, of necessity, runs on the smell of an oily rag, coupled with the goodwill of our hard-working core team, but things are tight, and we are not a 'fat' charity."