Rites of Passage Foundation - December 2012 Newsletter

Kia ora,

greetings from sunny Golden Bay. We hope you enjoy reading our joint summer newsletter full of stories, news and reflections.
The Tracks and Tides office will be closed between Christmas and New Year, but we will occasionally check emails. We are looking forward to being in touch with you again in the New Year.
Wishing you a joyful and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

Maria Koch, Adge Tucker and Gabby Hollis




Tides profiled on Radio National

A 10-minute programme featuring Tracks and Tides rite of passage was broadcast on National Radio on 13 December. It’s great to have some national exposure. You can listen to the programme as a podcast using the player below.



Artists fundraise for Tracks and Tides

Maria Koch

Creativity in support of rite of passage work – this was the theme of the recent Connections arts retreat and fundraiser held at the end of November at the Tui Event Park in Golden Bay. Artists and crafts people with a connection to Tracks and Tides spent a week in the tranquil surroundings of the Tui Tree Field. Participating artists created an array of works in media ranging from wood, cork, cement, paints and natural fibres. A charity auction of some works donated by the artists raised close to $1000 at the end of the week.

A highlight this year was to have well-known mural artist Chris Finlayson create a 3x5m transportable mural on canvas with the help of anyone willing to give it a go. Connection participants had the opportunity to pick up a paintbrush and help create the mural

under Chris’ kind and patient guidance. The mural, which was designed to capture the essence of our work, will be used as a backdrop to

our events and for public displays.

The canvas is currently displayed at the Dangerous Kitchen, the Takaka café that hosted the auction and provided a warm and friendly setting for the occasion.

Thank you to Jim Horton, who organised it all, to the contributing artists and entertainers on the night, to all who purchased items, and to our sponsors – Pub Charity and Tasman District Council.



Rite of passage research completed

Maria Koch

Congratulations to Jamie Howell for completing his thesis and receiving highest marks for it. The thesis contains a huge amount of insights, discoveries and wisdom. Backed up by a large body of human development research, Jamie has managed to demonstrate how “Tracks has created conditions that empower young men with an increased capacity to make sense of their lives.”

His research also validates Celia Lashlie’s theory that adolescents need their fathers and other men to be involved in their lives at the time of transition.

We are very grateful to the work Jamie has done, and we are keen to study it thoroughly as it will no doubt deepen our understanding of our work.

His thesis is also timely as we are in the process of reviewing the ways we evaluate our work.






Sisterhood, belonging and love

Tides was an experience that not only helped mould me as a now young woman, but it also gave me some of the most wonderful memories of sisterhood, belonging and love.

I found travelling down to Takaka not only alone but going to a place where I had no clue of what to expect obviously exciting, but it also in a way forced me to look after myself in a different way. I thoroughly enjoyed Tides and am really looking forward to returning as a young leader, I'd recommend it to anyone who's up for an adventure not only physical but mental.

Caroline Jackson, Hawkes Bay

Being a young leader

Coming back for a second time was amazing and so different to when I first experienced Tides. Instead of being fussed over I had to do the fussing, which was full of fun and giggles; especially working with the other young leaders and forming friendships with them.

I loved helping the girls through this unique experience and seeing how each of them experienced this course differently. It was great to come into an environment where I wasn’t judged and could speak freely to anyone about anything. It was not only fun but also taught me a lot about leadership.

Tides has been wonderful. I'm so happy that I have been and will continue to be a part of it.

Halina Horn, Marahau


A reluctant journey to Tides

I really didn’t want to go to Tides but my mum told me that it was my birthday present from her, so I couldn’t refuse her present, even though I did try!! Also, one of my friends was going, so I thought I could manage it if she went as well.

Just before we left for the South Island my mum said that unfortunately my friend couldn’t come. So with my friend not going to Tides it was really hard to make myself go, even without my mum’s statement about the birthday’s present. In the end I realized there was nothing I could do to stop us from going.

So I found myself travelling down to Tui community, and on a fine Monday morning driving to a reserve to spend a week with 25 other girls and women in the bush.

At first I didn’t quite know what to make of Tides. It was very different to what I expected. So for the first day I just did what everyone else was doing, even if I thought it was a bit strange at times. The second day I was more relaxed about it, though I was still being my normal mute-ish self. By the third day I was far better, finally plucking up the courage to speak in the circle. I was starting to realize that this wasn’t bad at all… The challenges were probably the things that scared me most. As I was watching the process of separation of my peers with their mothers I was feeling very lonely. When it was my turn I was scared but it helped that no-one could understand what we were saying in Spanish, which is my second (and my mum’s first) language.

The other challenge too was ok in the end.

Now that Tides is over I know that it is not at all bad or horrible but the opposite: fun, exciting, difficult at times; but you meet lots of new people who are very kind and look after you very well. I don’t know if it helped me yet, but maybe somewhere in the future I will see. My friends at school asked me about Tides and one of them is going, and I know a few people who should go. I would also like to come back as a young leader to help others.

Fiona Roberts, Wellington



  Returning young leader

Coming back to Tracks (after a few years away) this time was very strange. Being older than the others seemed to make it a little more challenging than usual in relating to them. However, as you know, Tracks is all about the challenges and the great environment that helps us through them. I found this round helped me get along with the younger teenagers.

Aaron Henry, Auckland, (pictured here in an earlier event)


Young leader experience

Going back to Tracks after two years was an amazing experience - it was different from the first time, because I knew what to expect even though not all of it was how I remembered. For me it reinforced the things we talked about and did the first time, but I think I also learned a lot from doing it a second time, and because I was helping my Seeker through the process. I am really glad to have had this experience - it was great to do, especially as a young leader.

Nicholas Hudson, Havelock North


Father-son transformation

My son and myself signed up for the October 2012 event at Wainui. It had taken a little persuasion for my 14-year-old to be positive about something so unknown and "obscure". We had often gone bush tramping together in the past. We enjoy facing a degree of unpredictability, and know to come well prepared and to be resourceful.

As a father I became participant, but more so witness to the process unfolding for the others. It was just amazing to see the defenses and reservations my son might have had come down and increasingly became part of the team or brotherhood. Now he feels that it was really worthwhile not just to participate in the event, but also to mark the transition into the third seven-year period of becoming an adult with increased freedoms and responsibilities. Since then a transition has also materialised at home in too many ways to mention.

I had my own challenges to face in a number of ways. I certainly felt I was in good, honest and supportive company. We were all digging deep focusing a lot on our inner spaces and our connections with others.

This was a scenario of empowerment and mobilisation. I can thoroughly recommend this programme to anyone who is concerned about our collective future.

I also wish to express my deep gratitude to the outstanding individuals (and driving forces behind the Tracks programme) Adge and Jim.

Dieter Proebst, Motueka 



“Up Up Up!!!”

Simon Dadley-Moore, Tracks facilitator and family councillor, Golden Bay

… my training partner urges me on. “Dadda up, dadda up!!”, relentless in his drive to push me higher. He blends these words of encouragement with well-timed drumming on my head and ‘uggs’ to my sweaty neck. He breathes love in my ear. He knows how to get the best out of me.

This day, a dream came true. A dream to stand atop Para Para peak with my son. At age 25 months we finally met on the summit (his first official winter peak), shared some well-earned chocolate and whilst I contemplated how far away from the car we were, Taj posed for the camera exclaiming “Mumma, mumma!”, a big grin from ear to ear.

The day was cloudy, the wind cold and the views obscured but my son shone bright. I felt truly warm (and a little bit knackered).

Thanks to my mate Lenny who shared this beautiful journey.

Thanks Taj, my beautiful boy, for choosing me, I love you mate. “Much!”


Rite of passage for a whole family

Andrew Stephenson, Motueka

The only thing you can bank on these days, it seems, is change. Apart from climate change, economic turmoil and shaking isles our own family has been going through significant change. Although not as earth shattering, the transition from children to adults can still be a bumpy ride.

Tracks and Tides came into our lives just at the right time. It gave us a poignant experience that focused the changes our family was undergoing and created wonderful memories that will become more important as time moves on.

Years earlier, back in 2006 we jumped into an 11- metre bus we transformed into our home to explore the wonderful sights of New Zealand. Anika was 10 and Kip and Lars were 9. We thought we would last a couple of years but the lifestyle was so enjoyable we lasted five. We always knew at some stage the kids would get too big for the bus and in 2010 the inevitable happened, so we started to explore where we would like to settle down.

Having lived in the North Island for 27 years we were keen to live in the mainland, so as a family we decided on Motueka. It was a chance for the kids to experience many things they had missed out on. For example, mowing the lawns, after-school jobs, sports and even girlfriends. Moving back into a house was a big change for all of us as the flexibility of the bus had become our security. Being stuck in one place felt vulnerable.

It was at this time that we heard about Tides and Tracks. A rite of passage marking the transition from childhood to adulthood suddenly seemed to be the most important thing to do. We were all a little apprehensive to say the least and a little concerned not knowing what was going to happen. This soon changed as a result of the sincerity, honesty and caring support of those running the course. Our family dynamic changed afterwards and the rite of passage became this transition point. Up to this time we had children. We now have young men and woman.

It not only marked a time for Anika, Kip and Lars but also for myself, with the realisation that I too was also moving into a new era. Gone were my younger years; I was entering my later years and Tracks helped me understand this change in a profound and meaningful way. 

The concept of mentoring was also introduced and shown as a meaningful service one could offer to younger generations. I was delighted when my boys found their own mentor who has taught them archery. Their relationship has developed into a strong friendship. After six months of work, Kip and Lars now have their own handcrafted bows, which they made themselves under the supervision and guidance of their mentor. As a family, if we had not understood the needs and benefits of mentoring this exchange may never have happened.

Although life seems full of changes at the moment not all of them are bad. In fact some of them are for the good. I have come to realize the rite of passage from childhood to adulthood is one change worth celebrating. I am delighted we could experience this change as a whole family. If you have a child who you think might be ready for this change I highly recommend you experience Tracks or Tides with your son or daughter.


Family journey to India

Fraser Bruce, Tracks elder, Thames

My wife Tomoko and I had travelled together in India three times before we decided to settle in New Zealand and start a family. For the last 12 years it had always been our dream to take our two boys to India and in September we realised that dream by spending seven weeks in north east India.

Now back in Thames the question that seems to comes up most often is "What was THE highlight of your trip?". At first that was a tricky one to answer, with two months of amazing experiences, both good and bad, swirling around in my head. It wasn't easy to come up with THE one.

I mean we had patted Tigers in Thailand on Hugo’s birthday, wandered around the beguiling Tashiding Gompa in Sikkim, wondered at Snow Leopards and Red Pandas at Zoos in Gantok and Darjeeling. We were able to celebrate Tomoko’s birthday with a special dinner and customised cake; bathed ourselves in the spiritual atmosphere of the ancient and holy city of Varanasi; meditated beneath the Bhodi tree in Bodh Gaya. Then there was the sweltering heat, chaos, packed train stations and national strike that we had to contend with in the first 24 hours of arriving in India. Delhi belly. Oh and the flight we missed on the way out, which meant an overnight stay in the airport, Oops. And curries, lots and lots of delicious curries, to name a few experiences.

So coming up with one highlight wasn’t possible. I remember saying "amazing" a lot when we first got back. But actually, when reflecting back on our travels, the real highlight that came to mind over and over again was being able to spend so much time together as a family, through all the good and sometimes not so good experiences. No work, no finishing the house, no other commitments just family time. It was magic, and I loved every minute of it.

Especially watching the change in Barnaby (12) and Hugo (10) as they overcame their shyness, and gained confidence as they opened up to the experience. I'll never forget being together at the Burning Ghats watching bodies being bathed in the Ganges River by their families as they said their final goodbyes. The way the boys were respectful of and open to the drama as it unfolded before us was humbling and deeply gratifying.


Trackers help with mural

Paul Johnson, Community Youth Worker, Motueka and Tracks facilitator

During the July school holidays Harald Laarakker, the groundsman from the Jack Inglis Friendship Hospital in Motueka, and myself organised a youth mural project for a door in the hospital’s dementia unit.

I had enlisted the help of two successful ex Motueka High School Students, who are now pursuing careers in the creative arts, Tomas Richards (Tracks Man and great role model to younger lads) and Gemma Proebst, his girlfriend. They were our leaders and both incredible talents.

Four budding artists from Motueka High School - Oliver Hayden, Orinoco Bryden (both of them Tracks initiated), Stella Bogdanoff and Jess -  joined the team to produce two spellbinding murals.

Thomas and Jess had come up with the concepts. The images were designed to look as if one was looking through something, one side an iron gate with a pathway leading toward the mountains, the other side looking through a porthole on a boat.

Harald and I were blown away by the young artists’ efforts and were inspired to do more mural projects. >

The Vision Motueka group is taking up the idea and is planning for Motueka to become a mural town – 'One Wall at a Time'. The vision is to include and involve all sectors of the community; my focus will be with the young people.



Reflections of an elder

Leo  Lenders, Tracks elder, Motueka

My experiences with Tracks have been quite remarkable. So far, I have had the privilege to be a part of two 'Good Men Make Tracks' events and three 'Rites of Passage' events in the past 2 years.

From what I have observed, it is not only a life-changing event for the boys who are becoming young men, it is just as much a life-changing event for the fathers. The connections between new young men and their fathers can move into a whole new level of mutual sharing, understanding and depth with the bridging of the generation gap that takes place during the events.

The ROPE events facilitate the process of alignment of the masculine energies of the new young man with that of his father, ancestors, peers and mentors. I believe the acquainting with, and recognition of these positive energies form the basis of the healthy growth of the young man to responsibility and maturity.

For myself, as elder and part of the men's group, it is beautiful and (more often than not) deeply touching to see how this whole process and the transformation of especially the fathers unfolds during the event. It makes me feel grateful to witness and contribute to it.


Relationship with my elderly father

Manfred Raunigg, Tracks elder, Golden Bay

My father had his first heart attack when he was only 43!

He retired in his 50s for health reasons and has been on a lot of medication since. He was 75 this year and I went to see him in Austria this winter for his birthday.
Every time I am going (every couple of years) I hope that he is still alive by the time I get there. And when I leave I feel like this may well be the last time I see him.

From left: Manfred, his father's second wife, his father

 This has been going on for many years now, decades in fact. We are very clear that we love each other, and there is nothing really deep to talk about when we are together. It is impossible for me to create a space like we have at Tracks, where I can do a ritual where we can really talk to each other.

As an elder at Tracks events I feel so deeply touched during the father separation rituals. However, my father grew up in a different time and culture and when I ask him if he has anything to pass on to me as his only son, just in case we don't see each other again, he says that he has never had the time to think about anything deep, as he was a hungry child in the war and then was building up from scratch to a comfortable middle class lifestyle; and that was the focus.

So....we have some good chats about the state of the world and I let him have his views and we never argue, and when I leave I have the sad feeling that we didn't really meet and that we didn't really have any time together...but I let him be free to be who he is so I can be free to be me...the FREE MAN.


Tracks helps to connect with own culture

Vincent Roquefort, France

I went to a Tracks event last year with the idea of having an experience of working with youth as a volunteer during a holiday camp, willing to start working in this field.

I was a 27 years young French guy, who had lived with a single mum for most of my youth, missing a male figure without knowing it. Gone to travel the world for seven years searching myself and looking for a place to settle.

During all parts of the event, I felt myself going through a rite of passage. Sharing my untold stories, and engulfed with compassion for the others, made me experience a surreal state of being. I came in touch with emotions buried in my childhood, and uncovered an understanding hidden by the silence of my "education as a man".

Tracks has marked my heart and soul. I know myself better, trust my self-confidence, listen to others and connect with them in a way that is respecting of myself. I now have a real sense of spiritual practice through rituals, which I am now able to initiate for myself according to my needs.

I am now ready to settle down, near my roots [in France], in tune with myself.

Back in France, I had a burning desire to create the same dynamic in my life. I have initiated a group of men to gather around fires.

What Tracks has shown me is that there is a very genuine way to reach spirituality by simply connecting with our own culture. It connects with a sense of being on the ground where we live, the people we live with, the stories we have woven and the experiences we have shared.

Occident has lost its spiritual practices, Tracks is redefining them with new words.



Berry flan

Connor de Spa,  Tracks young leader, Christchurch

Hi guys... I've been having a great year at CPIT studying Professional Cookery through the Youth Guarantee Scheme. (Check out http://youthguarantee.net.nz/ if you are 16-17, leaving school and want to study for free!)

I even got given free/cheap knives and uniforms, so I could replace the chef whites that my Tracks mentor (cheers Dan!) gave me two years ago - they were getting a bit old and stained...

Here is a dessert recipe for you all to try, perfect for summer while there are lots of fresh berries around. Look forward to seeing some of you again next time I'm up at Tracks.

Have a good summer.


Cream together: 1C sugar; 125g butter; 2 eggs. Add: ½ - ¾ cup sour cream; 1 cup flour; 1 tsp baking powder. Lastly, add: 1 - 1¼ cups of berries e.g raspberries, blueberries, strawberries (chopped small) and mix gently.

Bake in greased flan dish 35 mins @160ºC. Cool, then dust with icing sugar. Serve with cream, ice-cream etc. or eat as a cake!

Try it with some other fruits in place of berries: grapes in autumn. Finely chopped rhubarb (3 stalks) plus 1-2 Tbsp grated lemon zest is also delicious!



Raw Chocolate helps keep you happy

Tyson Hammond, Tracks facilitator

Eating to feel good is something easy we can do to help our body and mind feel content and enjoy our lives a little more. One of the main things we can do to stay physically healthy is to eat good, nutritious food.

The Cacao bean is a special little bean when it comes to helping us feel good and keeping us healthy. Most of us are probably more familiar with roasted cacao, which is in both milk and dark chocolate. However, if we all went to the source, the unroasted, the uncut, the unadulterated, our bodies would be a lot better off. It’s not easy to find, but it’s getting more and more popular. Raw chocolate is also super easy to make yourself.

So how to make it I can hear you ask. It’s not necessary but having little moulds to pour the raw chocolate mix into can be nice, especially if you are giving them to friends or kids. If you don’t have any moulds then you can pour it into a small glass baking dish and cut it up when it sets.

You’ll need lucuma powder, a South American fruit which is naturally sweet and complex in its structure, so you don’t have any sharp rises in blood sugar levels; coconut oil and raw cacao powder. Melt about 60g coconut oil in a double boiler if it’s solid. Once it’s turned to a liquid add 3 tablespoons of lucuma and 4 teaspoons of raw cacao powder. Pour it into moulds or a baking dish and put it into the fridge to set.

Adding things like tahini or almond butter gives it a nice creamy texture. Agave syrup or manuka honey will add a bit more sweetness; cinnamon and vanilla for a bit of spice; cacao nibs or nuts for some crunch; raisins, figs or goji berries for some chew.

Outside Tracks Tyson works as medical herbalist and a naturopath in Golden Bay. He runs online weight loss and stress reduction programmes for ‘Wellgrounded Integrative Healthcare. ’ www.wellgrounded.co.nz