Break-Away gets 'thumbs up'


Meeting their sporting heroes, doing things they have never tried before and getting a free feed was dubbed a “wicked time” by thousands of kids taking part in the first Break-Away School Holiday Programme over the Christmas school holidays.

The Break-Away initiative is designed to increase and improve the range of opportunities for young people who would otherwise have little do during school holidays. By exposing young people to new experiences and skills, the programme can help counter a drift into anti-social and unconstructive activities during the school holidays.

Feedback so far indicates the programme has been a runaway success: “Is it running again in April?” asked one Break-Away participant. “I hope I can come again – I had a wicked time.”

That sentiment was echoed by parents and organisers of the 20 holiday programmes run in selected areas from Wairoa to Northland. “Thanks very much for this programme,” said one Northland parent, who had children attending activities organised by Northland Hip Hop Dance Inc. “We have four children and can’t afford to send them all to programmes like this.”

Another West Auckland caregiver said: “Unbelievable programme. My grandchildren came home absolutely buzzing because they did horse riding and tree top climbing, which are things we wouldn’t be able to afford.”

In the Manukau, Youth Pride manager and former Warriors player Tea Ropati, attracted up to 90 children each day to their activities with the help of famous mates like Stacey Jones, Joe Rokocoko, Shane Cameron and the Mad Butcher, Peter Leitch.

Like the kids attending the Youth Pride activities, Tea grew up in South Auckland and said it was a perfect opportunity to give something back. “I just wish there was a holiday programme like this when we were all kids,” he told local community newspaper, Manukau Courier.

Break-Away will annually fund 30,000, one-week school holiday programme places for young people aged 11–17 years with the first 15,000 places running in the six months to June 2010. The programmes are free for any young person from the targeted communities eligible to attend, regardless of parental income. Young people can sign themselves onto the programme, or they can be referred by parents or others in the community.


LEFT: The Mad Butcher’s Peter Leitch (centre), Warriors Rugby league players, and the young people attending Youth Pride’s Break-Away programme in Auckland in January.



Youth Pride Launches - Manukau Courier 30 August 2008