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    Tracks and Tides Newsletter - Winter 2016

     

    Dear whanau, friends and supporters of our Tracks and Tides Community,

    With an event filled Summer and Autumn season behind us, it is time to slow down a bit and contemplate. Winter is always a great time to do so, although we are already preparing for the upcoming Spring season. A perfect time to send out our next newsletter to share a bit of what has happened since our last edition.

    We can honestly say, that thanks to your support we got out of a critical financial situation last year. We are moving towards a community supported, instead of a institutionally funded model. It feels so much better to be supported by people who really value our work. A huge thank you to all of you who are supporting us financially or in other ways. If you are not doing so already, would you consider setting up an automatic payment to support us financially? No amount is too small and many regular contributions help secure our common future (see sidebar for account details).

    Also, if you know of anyone who would benefit from our Rites of Passage programmes (who wouldn't?), please check the event calendar in the sidebar and refer to Adge (info@tracks.net.nz) or Gabby (gabby@tides.net.nz). There are still spaces available for our Tracks and Tides Rites of Passage events in September and October 2016. Additionally, we will be running a Good Man Make Tracks (GMMT) event from 16 until 18 September 2016, for which there are still spaces available as well.

    Stef Jongkind

     

    In loving memory of Peter Pontier

    On June, the 6th, Peter Pontier sadly passed away after a short, but intense battle with cancer. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends and all the people who's lives he has touched. With all our love Peter, there will always be a seat around the fire for you, your sons and your family. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

      Peter, pictured here with his son Floris

     

    Tides April 2016

    Tides April 2016 saw 3 sets of mums and daughters in our team. This is such a testament to our work. These mums and daughters came years ago to our Rites of Passage program where they celebrated a change in the relationship with their daughters. An acknowledgement of what had been and of new ways and changes they called in.

    In the following events the daughters came back as young leaders in absence of their mums. The role of young leader has opportunities for growth in leadership, teamwork and being able to give support. These mums trained through our Facilitator’s training weekends and became facilitators.

    Now, years later, both mums and daughters are on the team, working together in some area’s and having the opportunity to see each other differently.

    Here are some excerpts of their experiences:

    Evelyn and Rachel Astbury
    Evelyn came through Tides in 2013 as a new girl. And came back 3 times as a young leader. Rachel became a facilitator in 2015 and this time held the role of Homegroup leader.

    Rachel: To be here with my daughter felt really natural. I thought I would be more aware of what she is doing and looking with mother’s eyes to her. That did not come up at all. I looked upon her as another woman. I observed a strength, a confidence, an ease to be with her in this event. I loved it.

    Evelyn: I kind of forgot she was my mum. I saw her more as one of the other women. I really liked that separation feeling so I could be honest and open in my sharings without worrying of her observing me as a  mum. I am looking forward to go home and have that shared experience.. I know that
    being here together has improved our relationship and deepened the friendship between us.

     
    Anne and Charlotte Smith
    Charlotte came through Tides in 2013 as a new girl and came back 3 times as a young leader. Anne accompanied Charlotte a couple of times when she was a young leader and each time Charlotte grew in her role. Anne was assisting in holding the Women/Mothers group. This time they were more independent and separate.

    Charlotte: I enjoyed it. It was better than last time. We made space to talk and connect consciously. In this way it flowed with ease to be together on the event. I was fine sharing myself and it felt comfortable.
     
    Anne: I had a lovely experience. This time I felt more at ease around being separate from my daughter. I struggled last time so we had made arrangements beforehand  how to connect for 5 minutes here and there. I feel good that I found a balance with her of not too close and not too far. I saw clearly a link between my capacity to let her go and to see her capacity to grow and stepping into her place.


    Siti Jongkind and Rita Scholten
    Siti came through Tides in 2013 as a new girl and came back 4 times as a young leader. Siti has also been a sword bearer. Rita has been involved in Tides since 2009 and currently is a Homegroup Leader with the Women/Mother’s group.

    Siti: It was a really different experience for me to come back with my mum after 3 years, it was very beautiful to notice how much our relationship had changed and grown since we last went to an event together. I really enjoyed being a part of the team with her as it gave us an opportunity to work together on a mutual level, which worked well. We really make a good team.

    Rita: I felt really humbled to be with my daughter at Tides. We have had quite a journey alongside Tides due to my huge involvement with the program and the governance of the Rites of Passage Foundation. Sometimes this would overshadow her involvement. When Siti became a young leader we made agreements that only one of us would attend an event. This time we agreed to do it together and I loved it. I saw her truly as a young woman standing strong and tall. I felt we were standing together as women. There were moments where we would stand as mum and daughter and they were emotional and powerful. It strengthened our bond and we have a deeper understanding of our individualities.

     

    Our teenagers

    I have just picked up my daughter from her second Tides experience at Wainui and her first time as a Young Leader.  I cannot overstate what an incredible experience the Tides and Tracks events are for our youth, particularly as they embark on that confusing journey called puberty.

    It is such a gift to have this program right at our back door and I encourage all parents and teenagers to seriously consider it. There is learning and experiencing in this environment that won’t be found in schools, at home or in the mainstream world (although I’m quite sure that in our near future this will be standard fare for our children crossing from childhood to adulthood).

    Even if you don’t think it is your child’s ‘thing’ - my daughter did a fair amount of eye-rolling and lots of resistance before taking part - give it a go! 

    Our children are often missing out on real connection with themselves and others - this is an opportunity to expand their sense of self-worth and experience another way of being in the world. Huge kudos and thank you to all those who are creating this opportunity for our beloved children. If you like the principles of the program and want to support it, perhaps you could offer a sponsorship to a child.

    Martine Bouillir - April 2016
    (Martine is one of our two Golden Bay councillors for the Tasman District)

      

    It’s never too late to get it Rite

    My tracks experience was incredible. Words cannot describe the feelings and I am not over-exaggerating when I say it was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.

    My name is Zascha and I don’t exactly fit the profile of your average seeker, owing to the fact that I am 24 years of age. Tracks had been introduced to me when I was 13, but in my youth I wasn’t sold on the idea.  However 10 years later I met Steve, one of the Tracks facilitators and things changed. I was staying on
    Steve’s land experiencing a primal lifestyle as part of the course Orientation Aotearoa. Gathered around the fire we talked about the power of ritual and initiation. At times during my adult life I had felt like a boy stuck in a mans body and the idea of a significant event that marks the transition from boy to young man seemed very powerful. I also deeply wanted to improve my relationship with my father and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. It was clearly meant to be as dad was very happy to accompany me to the January rite.

    Day one and I was 13 again, feeling shy and a bit overwhelmed by all the new people. However these feelings were quickly put to rest as the programme got underway. The rituals performed were beautiful, powerful and mysterious. During the major ritual I felt the deepest connection to the earth, to myself and to my brothers that I have ever experienced. Tracks takes you on a crazy journey, tests your courage and delivers a new man out the other side.

    Since Tracks I have definitely noticed an improvement in my confidence and a huge improvement in my relationship with my father. Whenever I think back to the event I get goose bumps. I am so happy that this amazing programme exists. I think an event like this is absolutely essential when it comes to the development of a healthy man and I would recommend it to every single male out there!

    Zascha Mann

     

    “You don’t need to see the whole staircase… just take the first step”
     
    My attendance of the January 2016 Rites was an act of faith and trust. I was heeding a call of sorts… following the pull of something greater than myself and surrendering to the mystery of what would become.  In 2014 I had serendipitously attended my 1st TRACKS event and been “awakened” in a sense to the deeply meaningful nature of this work. So it was only half-unexpected when, 2 years later, I felt the pull to again visit the land (NZ) and the work. It wasn’t an easy decision for me as the mind was quick to complicate matters with all kinds of excuses why it wouldn’t be wise to go (namely financial constraints and time limitations) but in the end the heart spoke louder than the mind. And so I found myself, on my 33rd birthday, boarding a plane to Wellington.
     
    It’s amazing what happens when you allow yourself to surrender to the synchronistic flow. As soon as I had fully committed to heed the call of my soul it was as if the entire universe conspired to help me along my path. Arriving into Wellington I was offered a home cooked meal and a place to stay by a friend of a friend. During my one night on the town it just so happened that there was a capoeira event happening on Cuba Street with the group that I had trained with 2 years prior. During our spontaneous rendezvous I even ran into a friend from another part of the world who I hadn’t seen in years. It was at this point that it became obvious to me that I was being held by a benevolent and mysterious force. The next few days further confirmed this as my thumb seemed to magically bring friendly and generous people my way, each offering me a ride, a smile, or some helpful info that would bring me closer and closer to my final destination -Tui
     
    Once I had finally arrived at Tui it was like coming home again.  Familiar places and landscapes warmed my heart and the excitement of the upcoming event and all the unknowns got my blood pumping. There’s something so amazing about what TRACKS has accomplished… so many amazing souls somehow drawn together to bring out the best in themselves, each other, and all in a kind of altruistic support of the next generation and the broader community / bigger picture. There is, unfortunately, so few experiences like this that I have had the pleasure to be a part of… which made the juiciness of what was to come even that much more delicious! 

    Words can’t possibly do justice to the TRACKS event. Nor should they try to do so. Such an attempt, many might say, would be borderline sacrilegious. Some things are meant to be experienced first hand. However, what I can say is that “hindsight is always 20 -20” and by the end of the experience I was once again left feeling full, feeling clear, and feeling like something truly profound, magical and fundamentally crucial to my walk on this earth had just been reactivated. The journey had, in effect, filled my belly with “sacred meat”… providing me with the kind of nourishment that you simply can’t get from food or water… A feeling of fullness that is capable of sustaining the soul’s ability to persist and persevere.
     
    Beyond the individual level this kind of work, for me, symbolizes a return to true, sacred & wise communities. Honoring the need to rely on and learn from each other. Celebrating the roles that we all play in each other’s growth and in each other’s existence. I recognize this work as being some of the most potent medicine I know for being able to radically transform ourselves and our world.
     
    I am now back in Bali and admittedly have returned to my “normal-ish” routine. The scared meat that I carry with me still nourishes me and keeps me sustained as the call towards sharing this kind of work to the masses still burns inside of me like warm, glowing embers. I am currently working with youth groups. Using Bali as our classroom we learn about the local arts and culture, explore the abundant natural world around us and discuss and debate what it means to be “global citizens”. I have done this for years already but now I push them further than I used to… In subtle but profound ways we learn how to go deeper, to connect more completely, to honor each other more regularly and authentically. I credit my experiences at TRACKS for this deepening.
     
    In the not-too-distant future I hold the vision of creating “Rites Of Passage” types of offerings here in Bali… both for the youth as well as for the adults who, perhaps as much as the youth I feel, also seem to be searching for guidance towards a more meaningful and purpose-filled life… One that honors the shadow aspects of our being, honors the importance of community, and recognizes the opportunity that we all have to create the more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible. This vision that I hold is one of collaboration, so if you feel called to support in any capacity I welcome you!
     
    With full gratitude-

    Matt Shroads



    Calling all Farmers and Hunters!

    Our kaupapa at Rites of Passage is strong, healthy, empowered young men, women and families through community-led Rites of Passage.

    Our vision is an organisation that is not reliant on unstable government funding at all but is supported by the wider community who sees and values the work and its contribution to the whole community through empowered youth and meaningful connection.

    There are many ways to support this work- from regular weekly or monthly donations, sponsoring a family to attend a rites, volunteering your time on the team, or donating goods such as the successful fruit stall, now in its second year- thanks again to the Fry’s for this awesome and highly valued contribution!

    One area we are working on is the food at the events. We want to deliver consistent, high quality nourishment sourced locally and where possible, organically. We already do this by buying as much local produce as possible, using Village Milk and cooking according to the season.

    An area that we’d love to have help is with is a local meat supply. We go through roughly a beast a year and would love to receive donations towards this. One off amounts are useful and valued for those who have the occasional excess and we have freezer storage. Ultimately though, we would love to have ongoing security in this area and are looking for people willing to pledge an amount annually. Can you spare ¼ or ½ a beast or a hogget etc. to feed your Rites of Passage community?

     

    Fry’s Fruit Stall Fundraiser Flies Again……..

    This season is coming to an end, but for a second year running our fruit stall fundraiser has been busy keeping Golden Bay residents and holidaymakers supplied with fine fruit at bargain prices and raising money for Tracks and Tides too. This winning concept was the brainchild of inspiring Riwaka couple Leanne and Joss Fry. Leanne had a hunch that their surplus fruit could be transformed into support for ROPF, and she was right!

    Joss and Leanne are no-strangers to taking the initiative with community support. Over the years they’ve done all sorts of things to help the groups and organisations their family are part of or connected to. Last year Leanne trailered every bin of fruit over the hill for us herself before starting work. This year it’s been more streamlined, thanks to the incredibly generous support of Sollys Freight, who’ve added our bins to their ‘hill run’ pro bono!

    The concept’s been expanded too, Kelcey Chandler offered us tamarillos at a great price, wanting the generous margin to benefit ROPF and Elvira van der Waay donated a goodly chunk of her feijoa harvest including the picking and drop off!  

    So it’s many, many thanks to all our fruit chomping customers, to Paul and Gilda Sangster for hosting our stall, to Tubb and Sollys Freight for trucking it and most of all, to Kelcey, Elvira and Joss & Leanne for their time, encouragement, warmth, kindness and generosity.

    This year’s still totting up, but last year the fruit stall raised over $4,000, lets hope 2016’s even better.


    GROWING THE WORK

    DUNCAN HENRY

    Kia Ora Whanau,

    To those of you I’ve been on Tracks events with thanks for the special experiences and memories. For those I haven’t met who’ve done a Tracks event we are part of the same “tribe” having experienced ROP work and I appreciate the connection we share.

    My Tracks experience started as a Father attending with my two sons Aaron and Isaac about 12 years ago; then through the role of elder on some events and co-directing an event 3 years ago with Nick Fient. Some of my deepest and richest experiences have been on these events and they have also assisted hugely in deepening my relationships with my sons.

    I’m taking this opportunity to thank Jim particularly and Adge for all they have done to keep this work going through the years. Adge has asked me to write this article about a project I’m doing this year to do with developing and spreading ROP.

    My vision is that every boy in NZ has the opportunity to have a ROP to support their healthy transition towards adulthood. For this to happen there needs to be increased awareness of the reasons for and benefits of this work; and more widely available programs that can be used in a variety of areas by different groups.

    This year I’m doing an Otago Polytechnic Post-Graduate diploma in Sustainable Studies with my focus being to develop a Community-Led, Nature-Based ROP for Young Men that’s Transferable. My aim is to create an open-source template that can be adapted and used by schools, youth groups, communities, outdoor-ed programs etc; ideally with support from Men and Young Men who have experience with the work e.g. through their involvement with Tracks or any  other similar programs.

    A challenge is to “mainstream” a program without losing the essence and to create similar outcomes to Tracks while using some different processes, as some aspects of the Tracks Program are unique to its location. Currently I’m connecting with people interested in what I’m doing; Researching what other programs are available in NZ apart from Tracks and investigating what Maori did traditionally as ROP and what if any current programs are run from a Maori perspective.

    My impression at this stage is that there is growing momentum in this field; seeds have been sown and are sprouting; the time is ripe for  this valuable work to be recognised for its importance and made more widely available.
    Please get in touch if you would like to be kept in the loop with what I’m doing or have any suggestions or info that may be helpful; particularly regarding any other programs operating in NZ and info re current or past Maori rites for young men.

    Cheers,

    Duncan

    duncanhnz@yahoo.com

    Mobile: 027 2709642


    Have a great winter everyone...

     

    Arohanui