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Ngā Rangatahi Toa (NRT) works with youth excluded from mainstream education, using creativity and a mindfulness practice to build the self-confidence necessary to successfully transition back into school, or onto tertiary study and employment.
Through the partnership between Ngā Rangatahi Toa and Next Gen we hope to bring about change so desperately needed in youth transition. Takatū is an eight-week creative arts programme run in the NRT School of Creativity classroom in Otara, and in AIMHI alternative education classrooms throughout South Auckland. Rangatahi (young people) will be immersed in creative arts – learning new skills, gaining confidence, resilience and self-belief to help prepare them adulthood and the transition to tertiary training courses, into employment, or back into the mainstream schooling system.
Overseen by a lead teacher, experienced artist-mentors will guide the rangatahi through development of their own creative process in areas such as music, poetry, dance & visual arts. All of this will be underpinned by mindfulness and yoga. Mentors, who are experts in these art forms, will help rangatahi create art work in response to their life experience and issues of social justice, and will then support them to facilitate a peer-to-peer community cultural development project in alternative education classrooms.
Sarah Longbottom Executive Director of Nga Rangatahi Toa says:
“This peer-to-peer learning through creativity and art work creation is the key component of Takatū, as once a young person gets to this level of being able to be both teacher and learner we believe this evidences that they are transition-ready, and ready for their next steps program.”
“We are currently we are in the research and development stage, designing the blueprint of the Takatū project. It’s a really exciting time. We’re planning to launch it in the NRT School of Creativity, in Otara, in July.”
Sarah Longbottom is the Founder, Executive Director and Pedagogical Leader of Ngā Rangatahi Toa. She is a creative thinker, social entrepreneur and disruptive educator who believes in the power positive risk-taking and truth-telling. She is playing a key role in the national development of alternative education so that our most under-served rangatahi can fulfil their potential, feel connected and contribute fully.
Sarah designed Takatū in partnership with her brother Richie Longbottom, an experienced practitioner in transformational creative arts education and community engagement who is also contracted to Ngā Rangatahi Toa as Director of Strategy & Investment. Both Sarah and Richie believe, with a whole heart, that every human is creative and that ‘power comes from risking yourself in creation’ (Paulo Friere) Richie’s international experience in performance and arts management, combined with Sarah’s years of classroom experience in mainstream, residential youth justice and alternative education mean that Takatū is an informed curriculum that represents a new direction for education in New Zealand Aotearoa.
An alumnus of the US Department of State IVLP program, Sarah has been recognised nationally and internationally, for her leadership in education and empowerment through creativity. Most recently Sarah was awarded the New Zealand International Woman of Courage Award by the US Department of State and the New Zealand Embassy of the United States of America. Sarah was a 2013 Vodafone World of Difference recipient, and Next Magazine Woman of the Year finalist for 2015.
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