Ngā Rangatahi Toa inspires young people once labelled as ‘trouble-makers’ to confidently build a brighter future through intensive creative arts mentoring, mindfulness & yoga, and wrap-around whanau support.


Why do you exist?

We exist because, like you, we believe that every young person in Aotearoa deserves a chance to be the best that they can be, no matter what their postcode. We believe that education, creativity, and unconditional love are the key ingredients in empowering our most vulnerable to achieve their hopes and dreams, and contribute fully to the future of our country.

We walk proudly alongside young people most have given up on, those excluded from mainstream school and in the youth justice system, as they journey into adulthood. Teaching-artists mentor our young people as they process their challenging life experiences through a creative process, owning and re-presenting their stories through music, theatre, poetry, visual arts, and dance. Our engagement team provides day-to-day wrap-around support to rangatahi and their whānau, and graduates of our programs get back into mainstream school, move on to tertiary study or find employment.


What do you do?

Since 2009, our teaching-artists have engaged through immersive creative arts’ mentoring projects, supporting young people who have fallen through the cracks of our education system – those in alternative education, and those who are in no kind of schooling at all. Our engagement team of a social worker, youth mentor and counsellor provide the necessary additional intensive wrap-around support for rangatahi and their whānau, paving the path back into mainstream school, into tertiary education or into employment

Through our high-engagement and arts-access programs that run throughout the year we connect up to 40 rangatahi with New Zealand artists and performers. Teaching-artists and rangatahi collaborate on works to process rangatahi life experience and explore their potential. Our projects such as Manawa Ora (a one-to-one performance based project) and Takatū (a classroom based creative arts transition program) engage through love, kindness compassion and mindfulness. We prioritise our rangatahi gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and the world in which they live.

We engage intensively – for months and, sometime, years – with our awesome rangatahi and whānau. We have strong partnerships and work cross-societally, from Otara to Ponsonby, paving a two-way street of connection and understanding across the traditional divides. This is extremely powerful; our programmes activate the social, cultural and entrepreneurial networks required for a true Super City. We’d love you to be part of the change!


How can we help?

You can help us by sharing our vision of an inclusive and vibrant Aotearoa, and by committing to helping us achieve it!

The basic cost of supporting one of our rangatahi to build a brighter future through our transformative creative arts mentoring projects, and through wrap-around support is $5,300 a year. Any donation, big or small, will help us to reach more young people who need someone to believe in them, so that they can believe in themselves.

Donations will also enable us to pilot new programs and expand our Otara classroom and community operations in South Auckland, moving towards our vision of opening a full school based on creativity, social justice, and community connection.  Our young people who have been excluded educationally, socially and culturally deserve a great education. Help us build a strong New Zealand that is inclusive and values all humans.


Our current goals are:

Our five-year vision is centred around growing our existing pilots and initiatives, and by 2021 we will have:

  • Grown the NRT School of Creativity by opening an additional two classrooms – this will be a holistic senior community college for 14-19 year olds excluded from the mainstream system and YNEET (Young people in No Education Employment or Training)  
  • 86 rangatahi & whānau involved in our high-engagement programmes
  • Established a social enterprise for work-place training & employment, in collaboration with our tertiary and business partners
  • 30 internship / employment pathways opportunities in creative industries, retail sector and hospitality
  • In collaboration with our international and tertiary partners, established the Teaching-Artist qualification (applicable across entire education sector)
  • 180 rangatahi and whānau enrolled in community education programmes

Stories from Ngā Rangatahi Toa.

Want to support Ngā Rangatahi Toa?

You can support them with 1% of your income through One Percent Collective.

2015/2016 Manawa Ora images by Dan Erikson