Tracks and Tides - Winter 2013

Kia ora,

Much has happened since our last newsletter in December – Tracks and Tides are now officially operating as the Rites of Passage Foundation.
We have held three very successful events since then – one in January and two in April, fully subscribed, with a waiting list for Tides programmes into January next year.
Our wonderful Tides events coordinator, Gabby Hollis, is expecting her second child in October and will go on maternity leave. This is a great opportunity for other experienced facilitators – a competent team of wise women - to step into the directing role.

Financial challenges, as experienced by many community organisations, have also knocked at our door. Since the beginning of this year we lost about 1/4 of our operational funding from long-time supporters, and we may have to cut staff hours if this funding gap cannot be filled by the end of this year.

While these are trying times for us, we are grateful for the many years of support that we received from these donors.

In response to the latest challenges we have begun to develop two additional fundraising streams – making personal appeals to those who know our work (more below), and fundraising through network marketing with Lifeforce (more info below). The personal fundraising appeal is already bringing good results – community spirit in action and a great endorsement of how much people value our work. Many thanks to our wonderful supporters.

Maria Koch , General Business Manager


 Volunteers welcome for Show the Love working bee 23 - 25 August

Tracks and Tides invite everyone to join us to ‘show the love’ to the wonderful Tui Treefield, the site of rite of passage magic. We are having a working bee on the weekend of  23 – 25 August to prepare the event site for another season of rite of passage programmes.

Families and Tracks and Tides whanau are invited to join us in cleaning up the site, putting up tipis and helping out with anything else that may be required. Free camping and use of kitchen facilities is available. Bring food for shared meals.

On Saturday night we’ll have a fundraising dinner, prepared by Tracks chef Pete, followed by a film with a rite of passage theme. Pete is donating his time and Jim and Suzi are donating organic meat from a happy Tui cow. Please book your place for Saturday night and bring your koha. Otherwise people are free to come for any part of the weekend. 

Phone Jim 03 525 9641 for info or booking your space at the fundraising dinner.



January – Tracks Rite of Passage

Nick Feint, Event Director

Every time I do a Tracks rite it is special with the mix of individuals and their stories coming together in a unique way that can only happen once.

We had a fantastic event in January, which was also a personal challenge for me as my first-time directing a full rite of passage.

Of course, no Tracks would be complete without its challenges - from flooded tents to more personal struggles - and the measure of the team is how well we worked with what came up and created the alchemy of turning challenges into gold.

Thanks to everyone who was involved from new boys to the facilitation team for making the magic that was the January event.

I would like to share one little incident with you that happened during the event. On the night of the major ritual I saw a car come into the car park and I went to have a look. It turned out to be a police car, and an officer in full uniform got out and started peeking over the bund. Naturally we freaked out; was one of the boys in trouble, was someone’s relative hurt or some other disaster?

No - it turned out he just wanted to join Tracks! He had heard all about it and was driving past and saw the sign and wanted to get involved.

April Tides Rites

The Tides 2013 autumn rite was a rich and full event. Altogether we were 38 and managed to cover a vast area of the country with our various origins.

Participants and crew came from Auckland, Hamilton, Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Nelson/ Tasman and Cromwell to make up the family that was Tides April 2013.

All who attended for the first time showed great courage in the face of the unknown and by the end of the week some healthy challenges had been embraced. Many long-lasting friendships were made and many of the new young women who completed their rite are already looking forward to returning as young leaders in spring. 

As usual, the weather turned on a little bit of everything. We managed to stay dry and for the most part warm – that extra merino layer or cosy blanket never goes astray! To those women and young leaders who supported this event - a big thank you! Most of the crew were in new roles and the commitment, flexibility, focus and enthusiasm they showed were exceptional. Yay for community-led rites of passage!

Gabby Hollis, Tides Community & Events Coordinator


April Tracks Rites

This April’s rite was fantastic! It had some of the best community representation that we’ve had and it really gave our time together a strong holding from beginning to end.

The event was fully subscribed and with that we were fortunate to have eight of the nine new boys accompanied by their fathers, as well as seven mothers able to be a part of things too.

For me, the men’s and young men’s community was rich and diverse in heritage and distinct in the way ‘voice’ became a powerful theme and companion on our journey. Strong eloquent speakers, passionate performers and soulful singers filled the camp. For the first time the rousing, dulcet harmonies of a spontaneous barber shop ensemble came calling through the trees. But it’s the deep, honest sharing, the ruthless humour and the huge standing and courage of all the young men that will stay with me this time.

The April team was superb and it was wonderful to have some of our most experienced facilitators returning for the first time in a while. Huge thanks for all the personal contributions to this vibrant community celebration. My hope is that it continues to serve, resonate and echo through everyone who was moved by it.

Here’s looking forward to October with anticipation.

Many thanks,

Adge Tucker, Tracks Community & Events Coordinator


Youth volunteer award for young Tides woman

A young Tides woman was honoured at the Tasman District Youth Award in June. Anika Stephenson  received her award for voluntary work she does for the Motueka High School's breakfast club, helping paint the towns mural and tutoring the younger year levels in maths. Anika says of her award:

"I love volunteering my time, as seeing people benefit from my work is the real reward. Seeing students rushing for toast in the morning after they've spent an hour at netball practice and therefore haven't had time to have breakfast, or seeing students have that 'aha' moment when they finally understand what they've learnt in maths, is the reward of helping.

"When Mrs Jackson (the head of the maths department) told us that last year's NCEA maths results were up because of the tutoring we helped with last year, it really made it all worth it. It's worth it because you know that what you are doing is not just for the benefit of now, but for the future too.

"I really encourage everyone to become involved in volunteering, not just because of the personal reward of helping, but because it creates communities and not just towns.

"Thanks to the Tides crew for the hard work they are doing enriching the community by providing such a wonderful and enlightening course for adolescent girls to go on."


Major funding challenges arise

For the first time in 10 years we missed out on funding from Lotteries. Along with that, one of our major private sponsors is changing his way of supporting us (see next story) and we are stretching to get past December this year.

We will re-apply to Lotteries, but the result will not be known for another eight months. The reality is we need to broaden our funding strategy as social needs in communities grow and the pool of available funding remains limited.

The key to keeping this work alive is our community. We have a colourful and abundant pool of Tides and Tracks supporters who have helped us in various ways over the years. That's you, the reader, included!
In the past we have put out for one-off donations for specific projects. Our need now is for more long-term, stable, community funding.

In the last six weeks a new fundraising trickle of regular payments has turned into a small stream as individuals have stepped up to donating anything from $10 per week to $100 per month. Thanks to your generosity we are inching our way ahead meeting about a third of the funding gap - a truly community-led effort, true to our mission of ‘community led rite of passage’.

Those, who we haven’t approached yet in person, we are asking to consider a regular donation – any amount is appreciated. As we are a charitable trust, all donations are tax deductable.  Our bank account details are: Rites of Passage Foundation, NBS Takaka, 03 1354 0298064 00.

On behalf of the next generation of inspiring young men and women – we thank you for your generosity.

Stef Jongkind, Chair, Rites of Passage Foundation 


A new way of fundraising for the Rites Of Passage Foundation     

Michael Jude

Many of you have met Michael Jude in person at one of our events, or at least have heard of him. He brought the Men's Gatherings to New Zealand in the early 90s and co-founded the Tui Men's Gatherings, which is where the idea of Tracks evolved.

Michael strongly supported Jim Horton with the founding of Tracks Rites of Passage and also has helped finance Tracks from the very beginning. He is a very wealthy man with a focus on making a difference on this planet.

His wealth is generated by helping people improve their lives (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially and socially) while helping ordinary people like myself become successful entrepreneurs by partnering with Life Force International based in San Diego.

Funding the Rites of Passage Foundation

The economic situation has led us to a place where we can no longer rely solely on donations and grants from charitable organisations. The Rites Of Passage Foundation has  decided to develop an additional, new way of raising funds by partnering with Michael Jude and the Life Force Family.

Body Balance and Life Force

Life Force produces a liquid whole-food based supplement called Body Balance, made from nine wild and sustainably harvested sea vegetables in a base of certified organic aloe vera.

This drink has helped tens of thousands of people over the past 30 years (for testimonials check

Mineral deficiency is thought to be one of the main reasons for the rise in degenerative diseases, showing up in younger and younger people. Body Balance supplies our body's needs for minerals and phytonutrients.

Business model

I have been working with Michael Jude and Life Force very successfully for 14 years. I am offering to support anyone who wants to join this network marketing business or simply be a customer and drink Body Balance, which also helps ROPF, as a percentage of all sales will be donated to the foundation.

We have so far four people who are already in place to help with this fundraising project for ROPF. Jay Horton , Stef Jongkind , Warren Hoy and Tyson Hammond are ready to promote Life Force and Body Balance, and while building their own business they also create an income stream for ROPF.

Get in touch with any of these people or Suzi or myself to find out more. In this business model everyone wins and there are no losers as the true value is in the product (for details check ).

Talk to us to address any concerns and answer your questions.

Manfred Raunigg

Vice Chair, ROPF, and Tracks Elder


Dylan Taylor White 1992-2013, R.I.P

Dylan would have been 21 this year. Unfortunately, instead, he chose to leave us. On Sunday, 6 January 2013 at approximately 4am – he shot himself.

Dylan grew up with my sons Aaron and Isaac. A trio of boys from when they met at ages four, five and six, with Dylan being in the middle. He was their best friend, sharing the journey from little boys to bigger boys to young men.

He did his Tracks Rite of Passage in 2007 and came back for another Tracks event as a young leader in 2008. So many of you reading this will have met him. I knew him most of his life. Yet, until his memorial service I had no idea how many people knew and appreciated him, and how many varied areas of life he was involved with.

No note, no answers, no Dylan. A sad fact of life, that he chose to leave it and us. God bless you Dylan, we loved you and miss you.

Duncan Henry, Tracks Elder



ROPE lives on for father and son 

John Sprunt, Raumati

In April 2010 my son Kieren and I attended the Tracks rite of passage event at the Tui Treefield in Golden Bay. I had been invited to a GMMT four months earlier on the Kapiti Coast. This was an event facilitated by Jim Horton and Adge Tucker. It was, for me, profoundly eye opening and healing. I had hurts that had been buried in me for many years. Deep wounds dated back to the death of my father when I was 11 and my exclusion from his last illness and funeral. I still reflect back on the father/son separation ritual at that GMMT as one of the most powerful and healing experiences I have had in circle.

As a result of my experience at the GMMT, I asked Kieren if we, as father and son, could attend the rite of passage at the Treefields in Golden bay. I was amazed that my request was met with a simple ‘yes’. He needed no complicated explanation of why or how; his trust and the fact that I asked was enough.

Kieren has now left home to live in Wellington and study at Victoria University. His leaving home has led me to reflect back on that autumn week spent at Tracks, and the men that we both became as a result of attending. A lasting openness and respect was formed then between us which we have worked on and cultivated over the past three years. Our relationship has not always been smooth, but as a result of being involved in Tracks, we have the tools and past experiences to work through issues.

I will always be Kieren’s father and he will always be my son, but more than that we are two men inhabiting this world recognising and accepting each other for who we are. That’s a wonderful bond that every father and son should have.





A Cord is Cut

Jo Richards

(Written during Tracks Rite of Passage, January 2013)

The boy is born

A cord is cut

What joy and hope lie in that tiny miracle

The object of an unexplained love

That can neither be denied nor extinguished

That time cannot diminish

But only make stronger

The father marvels at the growing boy

Who shines and soars and wrests the heart

The boy enveloped in strong and loving arms

Floats above the jagged rocks of life

But now he yearns to walk alone

The tight-embracing shield of love

No longer binds him

And the young man

Newly forged from heat and steam

Bids farewell to childhood ways

And former superhero dad

A cord is cut

The bond is altered

Fellow travellers now

Father and son

Side by side

Journey on


A Good Man

A good man stands before me, though you wouldn’t think it yet,

With snotty nose and grubby face and nappy half offset.

He drags along a bone, he and a dog (reluctantly) might share,

With a “dead rat in his pocket”, and bits of lunch stuck in his hair,

You grab him to fix him up, full of wriggle, squirm and struggle,

But he’s far too busy to stop and be cleaned up, or even cuddled,

For there’s things that must be done, and new things to be learned,

For the designation, “good man” must be fought for and be earned.

A good man stands before me, though you wouldn’t think it now.

With a wee brown dog, behind him, wagging tail, and happy row.

Back from the fields and streams, hunter gatherers return from far.

A rabbit from a fresh dug burrow, and live craw-fish in a jar.

Peanut butter and honey sandwich, then again, he’s off so quick,

With honey leaking from the bread, peanut butter far too thick.

With the tree hut to be re-roofed, household rubbish to be burned.

For the title of a “good man”, must be fought for and be earned.

A good man stands before me, but you’ve got to wonder how,

With spiked hair, studs and tattoos, and a countenance so sour,

Bathed in narcissistic foulness, broad as the spreading light of day,

This I’m told, unfortunately, is so often, the only teenage way.

With glimpses every now and then, of what potentially might be.

When, of, the mental illness, “teenager”, he’s eventually set free,

Around the corner of that teenage hell, when he has finally turned,

To know to be a “good man” must be fought for and be earned.

A good man lay dying before me, resting upon his final bed.

Tubes to keep him alive and breathing, in his arm and head,

Life given early to emphysema, my early recollections flare,

Of a man of meagre intellect, hard working, not always there,

Of a man who did, in his own way, the best that he could do,

Who never gave up, always tried and always saw it through.

It was not till long years later, when these things I finally learned,

To lie in rest as a “good man”, was fought for and was earned.

A good man stands before me, though I don’t always think it so,

I’m told by others, often, so I reckon they should know.

For it is when I see my reflection from the mirror there,

With this simple, humble mantle, that I’m honoured I can wear.

To be considered in this light I feel both humble and respected.

The things that give me joy and pride are oft the least expected.

To give freely of and share the many things that I have learned,

This notion of a “good man”, sought, I feel now has been earned.

Gary Elford,

‘From Bard to Verse” Contemporary NZ Bush Poems, compiled by A. Higgins

submitted by Nigel Weston