Tu Tane students muck in to resurface Okitu walking track

Learning positive values through community service: Gisborne Boys’ High School Tu Tane students (from left) Jackson Clarke, Olly Cranefield and Harry Allan work under the guidance of Department of Conservation ranger Jo Waikari. Picture by Liam Clayton

More than 80 students from Gisborne Boys’ High School’s Tu Tane programme aimed at growing positive values worked up a sweat with buckets, sacks and rakes to resurface the walking track at Okitu Bush Scenic Reserve.

Tu Tane, which won the Atatu Teaching and Learning category at the Prime Minister’s Excellence Awards in 2015, began in 2009 following a trip made by Boys’ High staff to an international conference on education methods.

Assistant principal Tom Cairns said they realised appropriate opportunities for their students to make healthy transitions into manhood were lacking.

“Young people need to have positive ‘rites of passage’ opportunities.

“If we don’t offer them, they tend to come up with their own, which aren’t always the best.

“Caring for the environment and the community are attributes of a good man, and doing positive community service is really important, so we looked for a project to teach this value, learn empathy for other people and how to work together.”

The chance to work alongside the Department of Conservation at the Okitu scenic reserve arose from a conversation between DoC recreation ranger Dave Lynn and physical education teacher Jamie Swift at a Christmas function.

“I thought it would be great to get the boys down and re-metal the track to help with the ongoing maintenance work,” said Mr Lynn.

“The track hasn’t been done for about 10 years so having these young men come through and do this is such a benefit for everyone who visits and walks this track.”

The boys also got a lot out of it.

“Most of these boys had probably not even walked this track, but when they finished they were able to look back and think ‘wow, I did that’.

“I think they got a real buzz from it.”

Mr Swift said it was important to get the boys out and show them how community service make a difference.

“DoC’s identity has, to some degree, been lost with the younger generation, so it was really good to give the boys an opportunity to see what DoC does around the region and to meet some of the people who provide this ongoing service.

“Tu Tane was designed around building strong positive values and relationships and looking at what it takes to be a young man in today’s society.

Tu Tane student Jackson Clarke said he really enjoyed being involved in the programme.

“We also had a camp at the start of the term and different activities, but coming here to do work on the track at the reserve has been really cool.

“They teach you about what it means to be a real man, which is mean as.”

Mr Lynn said the collaboration with the Tu Tane programme had been incredibly worthwhile.

“The boys worked hard; they listened well. There were no issues at all with any of them and we are just so impressed with the programme and the work they do.

“We’re very grateful these young men pitched in on some conservation mahi (work).

“Wet weather can affect our track quite significantly so the work involved hardening the track to make it safer for visitors to continue being active during winter.”

More than 80 students from Gisborne Boys’ High School’s Tu Tane programme aimed at growing positive values worked up a sweat with buckets, sacks and rakes to resurface the walking track at Okitu Bush Scenic Reserve.

Tu Tane, which won the Atatu Teaching and Learning category at the Prime Minister’s Excellence Awards in 2015, began in 2009 following a trip made by Boys’ High staff to an international conference on education methods.

Assistant principal Tom Cairns said they realised appropriate opportunities for their students to make healthy transitions into manhood were lacking.

“Young people need to have positive ‘rites of passage’ opportunities.

“If we don’t offer them, they tend to come up with their own, which aren’t always the best.

“Caring for the environment and the community are attributes of a good man, and doing positive community service is really important, so we looked for a project to teach this value, learn empathy for other people and how to work together.”

The chance to work alongside the Department of Conservation at the Okitu scenic reserve arose from a conversation between DoC recreation ranger Dave Lynn and physical education teacher Jamie Swift at a Christmas function.

“I thought it would be great to get the boys down and re-metal the track to help with the ongoing maintenance work,” said Mr Lynn.

“The track hasn’t been done for about 10 years so having these young men come through and do this is such a benefit for everyone who visits and walks this track.”

The boys also got a lot out of it.

“Most of these boys had probably not even walked this track, but when they finished they were able to look back and think ‘wow, I did that’.

“I think they got a real buzz from it.”

Mr Swift said it was important to get the boys out and show them how community service make a difference.

“DoC’s identity has, to some degree, been lost with the younger generation, so it was really good to give the boys an opportunity to see what DoC does around the region and to meet some of the people who provide this ongoing service.

“Tu Tane was designed around building strong positive values and relationships and looking at what it takes to be a young man in today’s society.

Tu Tane student Jackson Clarke said he really enjoyed being involved in the programme.

“We also had a camp at the start of the term and different activities, but coming here to do work on the track at the reserve has been really cool.

“They teach you about what it means to be a real man, which is mean as.”

Mr Lynn said the collaboration with the Tu Tane programme had been incredibly worthwhile.

“The boys worked hard; they listened well. There were no issues at all with any of them and we are just so impressed with the programme and the work they do.

“We’re very grateful these young men pitched in on some conservation mahi (work).

“Wet weather can affect our track quite significantly so the work involved hardening the track to make it safer for visitors to continue being active during winter.”

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