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School of Hard Knocks returns

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is pleased to be teaming up with School of Hard Knocks (SOHK) once again, to film its third season in Te Tai Tokerau.

Last years inaugural sponsorship of the 12-week programme saw 16 tauira enrolled at Māngere Campus as they worked towards their NCEA Level 2 fitness qualifications alongside coach mentoring from sporting heroes Sir John Kirwan, Filipo Levi and Joe Harawira.

Season twos 17-year-old Tamati Te Whaiti, found the opportunity to be so transformative he is now enrolled into the Level 4 Certificate in Health and Fitness programme along with four more of his team mates. He is also going to apply to join the Navy.  Another graduate returned to high school while the rest have found employment.

"This was the best educational experience of my life,” says Tamati.

“If I hadn’t done School of Hard Knocks, I would not be going to recruit for the navy.

Sports and Youth education manager for Te Ihu Takiwā Desiree Wallace says despite the reality show angle, the partnership is effective because both SOHK and TWoA share the same objective – helping youth to face difficult challenges in life.

“Last year we saw opportunities for young men to build their self-worth and learn life skills through sport. This year we continue with this objective and extend a warm welcome to the females as well.

Season three’s filming began with a pōwhiri in Whangarei yesterday to welcome an intake of 17 rangatahi consisting of 8 females and 9 males.

SOHK Executive Producer Hugo Fitzsimmons says he is pleased to be in Northland with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and looks forward to giving young women and men the chance to transform themselves.

“We are excited to partner with the Wānanga again as they provide a great educational platform and holistic learning environment. We’re also stoked to have the support of ACC again and welcome NZRU RugbySmart to the whānau.

SOHK began in 2007 when founder Ken Cowen approached the UK borough of Knowsley about using rugby to transform the lives of men. Since then the charity has grown to provide more than 50 courses a year throughout the UK. 

More than a dozen UK secondary schools have also introduced SOHK into their curriculum with encouraging results.

As a pioneering programme Ken says he is thrilled something he thought of 11 years ago has reached these shores.

For more information, follow School of Hard Knocks on Facebook.

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