Smiles and laughs, cheers and claps, some good natured ribbing, and a whole lot of encouragement were shared when the Tu Ora hosted a rippa touch rugby game within the NI unit on 3 March 2020. Staff from Te Ora Hou and Pathway were invited to share an afternoon of sport, kai, and friendship in a positive pro-social environment.
The Tu Ora played alongside their Pathway navigators, and several first time visitors to the unit, working as a team, sharing the ball so everyone could have a go (no matter their ability), and celebrating the successes of both teams in a great display of sportsmanship.
Players subbed on and off to catch their breath, and moved between teams to make sure everyone had a run.
The Tu Ora were great hosts. With everyone puffing and hot after an hour of play, the guys brought round cold water, fired up the barbecue, and sat down for a chat with their guests.
They talked about their time in other parts of the prison, how that compared to the positive environment of the Navigate Initiative, and what they were getting out of it. “It's up to us. You have to want to be involved. I spoke to someone already in the NI unit and that made me decide to go for it, but it took me another eight months to get here - I had to work for it and be committed, but it was worth it. There are so many amazing opportunities on offer here,” one Tu Ora said.
“I’ve been able to reconnect with my whanau thanks to the Pathway team. I hadn’t been in touch for years, and in the main prison there is nothing they can do to help other than post letters for you. The Tu Ora Navigators are amazing, they made this possible.” This Tu Ora can now see the possibility of whanau being part of a positive future alongside them.
Spending an afternoon together in friendly competition and conversation was an overwhelmingly positive experience for all who took part, making it very easy to forget that we were behind the wire.