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It started out as a nationwide quit smoking challenge that some were finding difficult to buy in to.

Now many in a group of Whirikoka Youth Guarantee rangatahi are using their newfound competitive streak and victory in the auahi kore challenge to spur them on to higher levels of study.

Rob Coe-Tipene coached 10 Whirikoka rangatahi who took part in the Wero – quit smoking challenge and won sharing the top $5,000 prize.

The 12-week challenge was organised locally by the Tairāwhiti District Health Board and Gisborne had the most participants nationwide.

Rob said the victory was no mean feat for the YG rangatahi, many of whom had dropped out of school and were not high achievers or overly motivated.

He said it was initially difficult to get the tauira on board with the idea.

“But once you got one on and the next and the next the rest fell in line and they started influencing their peers around the campus.”

“By the end of the challenge everyone around the campus knew what they were doing.”

Motivated by their achievement, many of the tauira have since found employment over the summer and are now looking at enrolling in further study.

“Half of the class were enrolled in health and fitness and some of them we have enrolled on a programme with another provider,” said Rob.

“The other half of the class were doing building and some of them have enrolled in our level 4 building programme.”

Rob says the group have proven to themselves and everyone else that they can achieve anything.

“After 12 months at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa they’ve had a transformational journey.”


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Published On: 16 December 2015

Article By: James Ihaka



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