Rites of Passage Foundation - Summer 2014 Newsletter


Kia ora,

This month we are celebrating one year of ROPF. It’s been a turbulent year, with a great start and lots of enthusiasm from all involved in birthing this new organisation from its parents, Tracks and Tides.

We underestimated the time and energy it takes to jump through the bureaucratic hoops, but we did it and created something even more beautiful than its parents. ROPF is richer and stronger for bringing men and women together, collaborating where helpful, and also leaving each other space for developing our separate gender-based programmes.

The biggest challenge arose when we missed out on one major grant this year. This potential crisis was turned around by the willingness of many to support  young people’s rite of passage. Friends and supporters of Tracks and Tides responded by donating generously and setting up regular automatic payments. We can’t thank everyone enough for it.

Meanwhile, Tides is at the cusp of running its first summer event, and new Tracks events are developing. Adge has run two successful pilot programmes catering for young people on either side of our rite of passage programme. Rising Sons for dads and their pre-teen boys; Letting Loose the Magician for young leaders.

The office will be closed between Christmas and New Year, but we’ll occasionally check emails and phone messages. 

We wish you a peaceful Christmas and a great start to the New Year, full of inspiration and happiness, for you and your loved ones.

 The management team - Maria, Adge, Gabby


October Tides a truly community-led event

The October Tides event had its own rite of passage. Gabby, who has so skilfully directed our events for many years, was due to have her baby (and now has a beautiful son, Bodhi) .  This opened up opportunities for a group of experienced Tides women to co-direct the even.

Fully registered, and with a waiting list for January, co-directors Emily and Ngaire held our diverse group of young women and mothers beautifully, assisted by home group leaders, AraLyn, Sybille, Alexandra and Rita. Like all other events, this one unfolded in magical ways from a promising bud into a radiant flower.

  “It was an amazing experience. I’ll remember it forever. Everyone listened really well. I loved getting away from everyday life and the whole normal routine.”

“I feel more confident in myself and my abilities. The event very much inspired me to make positive changes in my life.”

“A place that helps me connect and share with other women. It opens you up so much.”

Maria Koch




Rising Sons - for young boys and their fathers

On the last weekend of November the Treefield saw seven fathers and seven sons joined by our team of ten good men and young men for our first ever ‘Rising Sons’ camp.

Tracks has been keen to offer this event for some time, so it was fantastic to see such a fine bunch of lads eager and ready to go as we shared a Friday evening dinner of roast beef.

The event has been designed as an introductory experience for 8-to-10-year-old boys and their dads. For the boys it was a chance to camp in the Treefield with dad, get to meet some of the guys from Tracks, have heaps of fun and a wee taste of the Tracks culture. For the dads, aside from all the hijinks, some time to share experiences of parenting boys and cast an eye to the future for them both.

Our boys; Ludo, Theo, Arjuna, Momo, Nimwa, Lief and Jaya were in fine form and kept us all on our toes, just one step behind the fantastic team, moving swiftly amongst games and challenges, art, cooking, crafts and performances.

Fabian and Hamish were assisting as young leaders and demonstrated an inspiring degree of care and service, joined at the eleventh hour by Emile, a student from Norway who dived straight in to make a wonderful contribution.

Nick and Theo introduced a new taonga to Tracks, gifting us a boys' talking stick that they’d prepared, pre-adorned with ninjago. All of our first Rising Sons took up the stick and my hope is that they’ll be the first of many.

Just as we finally managed to stop laughing, we realised it was Sunday afternoon, time to say our goodbyes and draw this new event to a close. But not before a final and most ancient test of masculinity, the tug of war! I couldn’t say if any were victorious, only that there was vein-bursting grunts, horrifying heave-hos and the creak of highly tensioned twine.

Thanks to Wayne, Alan and Dave for their generosity and help with preparing for the weekend. Keep an eye out for Rising Sons; we're looking forward to doing more.

Adge Tucker




Wind sings through the laughing trees

new shoots
fresh faces
swords clash
bodies bash their ways into all-rounding manhood
to the roar of the bull
sweetness her pull
weaving hands and feet into the land
going beyond the planned
circles of the one

Jaime Howell



“Our community will benefit enormously from Rising Sons. It is the perfect prelude to Tracks. Rich in all respects...clearly, strongly and gently at the same time, guiding our young boys into being better young men.”

Sika Rose


Letting Loose the Magician - new for young leaders

Yehaaa !!


The magician was let loose in early October on the Treefield at Tui. Fire and the creation of it was a huge part of this event. So many fires were lit in so many ways - from the bow drill and tinder bundle used by the young men to light the first fire on the first night, to magnesium fire starts, and only on one occasion - a match!

There was so much concentration, so much care, and so much pride once all the fires were blazing away. So many red eyes too, from getting up close and trying to breathe little sparks into flame. The rain in mid-week only heightened the challenge of finding tinder for getting fires going. All our fire tending culminated in taking our turn, in pairs and threes, keeping the circle fire going through Wednesday night, whilst we all slept around it. What beautiful bird song that morning!

We all had a great week in an event inspired by Steve Porteous, facilitated by Aaron Fahey and supported by John Sprunt. It was a week filled with fun and the gentle presence of Coyote, the joker. Steve’s games had us all laughing, the half-a-boy plays were tear inspiring and Jim’s wander in the fields will live long in the memory. There were four circles on different topics with some exceptional sharing from men, young and old. Pete excelled in the kitchen, as ever, and it was great to be able to see Jim and Adge able to relax into an event without having to organise.

A great week, and thanks to all who came. Who knows, next year maybe more of the same; and if so ... see you there.

John Sprunt


Striking Sparks in the Coromandel

We had our Striking Sparks weekend and for me the most pleasing thing about the whole process from conception to execution was how each man committed himself fully and was then prepared to take one more step 'over the edge'. Whether it was Rowan leading his first ritual, or the way two new men, Simon and Tony, brought themselves wholeheartedly and authentically into the event.

There was a lovely flow and plenty of time around the fire to plan our next move. We all loved the simplicity of this format. The site is stunning and lends itself perfectly - stunning bush and birdlife, seclusion and a waterfall for cleansing. The walk up into the site is about a kilometer and there’s a lovely spot half way up ideal for community gathering and sharing food. The weather gods were with us too, full moon, clear skies and warmish.

It feels as though CRoP (Coromandel Rite of Passage) has just been through its own rite of passage, and I must express my huge gratitude to all you beautiful and inspiring men at Tracks who have nurtured us and set us free so we can 'spread our magnificent wings and fly'.

Fraser Bruce – CroP Community

“As a participant I thought it was a magical event. There’s something lovely about it being here nestled in our community, simple and in nature with a major ritual that touched us all in different ways.”

Niel Smith – CroP Community


A Father’s Gift

Sitting around the fire in a circle of men and boys, hearing and speaking the stories of our lives. Holding the space for each other, tears of joy and grief fill our sacred circle.

Standing across the fire from my son freshly emerged from his chrysalis. In the beauty and brilliance of this moment my opened heart shares its truth.

I love you and I will always be here for you. Now spread those wings and fly!

Sitting around the fire in our sacred circle of Men….

Fraser Bruce, Tracks May 2013  





New book release

‘The Making of Men’ Raising boys to be happy, healthy and successful. Dr. Arne Rubenstein. www.doctorarne.com