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Ngaruahine Iwi Maatua Whangai is a charitable trust that runs school holiday programmes for children aged 8-17 in and around Manaia in South Taranaki.

“We work in a very diverse community and have programmes right across the board so everyone gets involved. The tamariki (children) and rangatahi (teens) are our mokopuna so lots of nannies come too,” said Alison Ranui, Executive Member.

“We teach karakia and harakeke and help the kids get in touch with the whenua. We cover a whole range of activities for the holidays.”

Programme organisers aim to keep all activities free for participants, but in the past, that has often meant fundraising, relying on koha and paying for equipment themselves.

“We worked on the smell of an oily rag. We used resources from our homes or bought them from our own pockets because we’re passionate about keeping the relationship with our community.”

Toi Foundation funding of $3K has helped expand the school holiday programmes, paying for transportation and entrance fees.

“It gives us more opportunity to grow and progress our programmes. We’re a small community and a lot of our kids have never experienced going out on trips, like going to the swimming pools, skating or the bouncy castle in New Plymouth.”

Programme coordinators want to expand the holiday programme in the future.

“It’s made us want to strive for more because having the grant has been a big help,” said Martha Hihi, Committee Member. 

“We try to give more options for our children to be educated in things outside our community. We plan to do more wānanga, staying at the marae, which the kids said they’d like to do.

I love this programme because it caters for everybody. It helps everyone, the working families and the ones that can’t afford things. It’s all about building relationships and caring.”

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