A trust working with Rotorua kids has been given a $20,000 grant that will help ensure its survival.

BayTrust has granted the money to Rotorua's Youth Projects Trust, which runs initiatives designed by young people, for young people.

Its current programme, Manaakitanga, involves students from Kaitao Middle School and Mokoia Intermediate, and is a rewards-based activities programme that teaches them skills to become good hosts.

Kaitao Middle School principal Rory O'Rourke said there were a mixture of students selected for the programme, with the majority being what they considered at-risk.


He said it was a value-based programme that drew on the history of Te Arawa, so they got a good understanding of their local iwi, tribe and environment.

The main value they developed through the programme was the value of respect, he said.

"That has certainly come through when they come back to school."

He said the grant would benefit all schools.

Trustee Laurie Durand said it was a practical hands-on experience for youth.

"If they display regular attendance and a good attitude in class they can be selected. They then get picked up from school and taken out for two hours once a fortnight to do one of our activities."

Activities include cooking skills, caring for pets, and Te Arawa stories where students visit tourist hot spots to learn the history and legends passed down from older generations.

"During each session you're talking to them about their attitude and how they're relating to other kids. It's about building their social skills and providing an opportunity for them to talk to another adult.

"It's a values-based programme because there's a caring component to it."

Mr Durand said the schools involved were successfully using Manaakitanga as a way to promote and encourage regular class attendance.

Mr Durand said the $20,000 would help keep the trust afloat this year and pay for rent on its Te Ngae Rd office and administration overheads.

"It's basically essential to our survival. We're entirely dependent on organisations like BayTrust supporting us in our work. We're very thankful for their support."

BayTrust chief executive Alastair Rhodes said Youth Projects Trust's programmes contributed to the goal of ensuring the Bay of Plenty was the greatest place to be.

"Engaging youth within our community is an important part of achieving that vision.

"Programmes that encourage youth to pursue education and become involved in various activities ultimately helps them to lead more productive lives and become good citizens."