Early morning starts up Kaiti Hill await for the next intake of rangatahi who will soon begin their induction into the world of ATAWHAI in Term 2.
The eight week ATAWHAI programme is based on the successful CACTUS boot camp style courses for young people, and is the initiative of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou and the NZ Police, in collaboration with the NZ Army, Fire Service and community volunteers such as the Maori Wardens (a profile about ATAWHAI appeared in the last edition of Nati Link).
In December 2013 thirty students from Ilminster Intermediate and Waikirikiri School in Gisborne graduated from the first intake of ATAWHAI, and to qualify for graduation they had to complete ‘The Longest Day’ –which included pulling a fire truck down the main street of Gisborne.
A special dinner and ceremony was held for the first ATAWHAI graduates, and they were joined in their graduation photo by representatives from the armed services, local and national government and community including ATAWHAI Instructor Ben Green, Mayor Meng Foon, Minster of Police Hon. Anne Tolley, Chairman of TRONPnui Dr Apirana Mahuika, Gisborne Police area commander Inspector Sam Aberahama, ATAWHAI coordinator Constable Whiti Timutumu, and Ilminster Intermediate Principal Peter Ferris.
In addition to presenting certificates to all the graduates, special prizes were also awarded:
Te Toa o ATAWHAI: (Sponsored by Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou & JN Williams Trust): Taylor Jones
Top ATAWHAI student from Ilminster Intermediate: (Sponsored by Minister of Police Anne Tolley):Maru Kawana
Top ATAWHAI student from Waikirikiri School: (Sponsored by Pakihiroa Farms): Tainui Maxwell
Top Fitness Award for ATAWHAI: (Sponsored by NZ Fire Service, Gisborne Station): Billyjo Kipa
Most Improved ATAWHAI student: (Sponsored by Tairawhiti Police): Eritateta Ngaro
Best Volunteer for ATAWHAI: (Sponsored by Ngati Porou Fisheries): Ernest Betham and Kayla Tane