Therapy has found a new form that leaves you covered in mud and flying through the sky.

An increasing number of rangatahi (youth) in the Bay of Plenty are using adrenaline-filled dirt bike therapy programmes to help them face the challenges in their lives with confidence.

The Youth Encounter Ministries Trust run dirt bike encounter programmes including camps, regular mentoring and leadership courses

Youth who are more practical find the programme effective to help discover and reach their full potential.


Youth encounter operations manager Tracey Christian said using dirt bikes as a tool to unleash the potential in teenagers helped them realise what they are capable of.

"We get to see participants transform over eight weeks.

"They often go from being disengaged and unmotivated to discovering their potential and being excited for the next challenge life throws at them.

"The programme is hugely rewarding, not only for the staff but also for the communities that these young people live in."

To keep up with the growing demand for its programmes, the trust has increased its fleet of dirt bikes with a new Suzuki DRZ125 after receiving a $3280 grant from the Mazda Foundation.

The extra bike allows the trust to increase the intake of the eight-week courses it runs throughout the year.

Christian believed dirt biking required problem-solving to navigate the tracks safely and in turn helped rangatahi establish techniques to tackle obstacles on the track and in life.

The trust is one of two recipients in the Rotorua area to receive funding in the Mazda Foundation's first round of grants for 2019.


Central North Island Kindergarten Trust received $2051 to replace the carpet under its kai table at Fordlands Kindergarten with vinyl flooring.

Each year the Mazda Foundation hosts three funding rounds to help Kiwis in need, having gifted over $3.5 million back to the community since its inception in 2005.

Foundation chairman David Hodge said he was always inspired by Kiwis and organisations working to make a difference.

"There are programmes around the country dedicated to keeping young Kiwis motivated through physical activity and teaching them new skills.

"I am proud that the funds provided by the foundation will enable them to engage more young people in the community."

The Mazda Foundation is funded through a contribution from the sale of every new Mazda in New Zealand.

Applications for the next round of funding applications close on June 30. Download an application form on the Mazda Foundation website.