Topic: Youth

Rangatahi share their stories: Part Four

By Online News - Rereātea
  • Auckland

A special project where rangatahi share their inspiring stories is being launched on Māori Television.

The stories of four students from Vanguard Military School in Albany, Auckland follow the journeys of rangatahi who had fallen through the cracks.

In part four of this web series, we meet Josephine Newton, who at 17 is developing her independence, working 20 hours a week at the Postman’s Leg restaurant on Auckland’s North Shore.

“I recently moved out of home this year, at the start of this year, which means I had to grow up really quick and learn to look after myself and basically learn how to manage an adult life, which is pretty hard,” says Newton.

Newton needs to earn money for her rent, power, to buy food and for getting to and from school- a priority for this ambitious young woman who is thriving in the disciplined military setting.

“Showing up every day- that’s what they want from you.  They just want you at school and then basically everything else they’re giving you, they’re giving you good teachers, they’re giving you a good environment.

Newton hopes to continue on the path Vanguard has laid for her after finishing her studies.

“I really want my level three [university entrance], this school’s perfect for that because I want to go into the Navy.  I just want to keep working hard to keep my standards up so I can face anything basically.”

The Vanguard Military School has achieved outstanding results in academic, social and leadership terms for its largely Maori and Pacific Island students in years 11, 12 and 13 since it opened in February 2014.

Dr Lance O’Sullivan, founder of the Moko Foundation, believes partnership schools such as Vanguard may play a vital role in unlocking the potential of rangatahi from challenging backgrounds.

“I have long been an advocate for disruption of outdated models of care in the health system,” says O’Sullivan, “I am similarly  keen to see the benefits of successful disruption of the education system being incorporated into our mainstream education frameworks so that the benefits can flow to all New Zealand students.

“Each year hundreds of young people receive an outstanding education at Vanguard, where achievement levels are comparable and in many cases better than the top academic schools in New Zealand. 

Newton is proof that the supportive and disciplined environment of partnership schools such as Vanguard can bring amazing results- something that she recognises.

“I’m growing up so anything I’m around is going to influence me and I want to grow up a positive person that’s doing positive things and making a better life for myself,“ she says.