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Inspiring tamāhine to become transformational leaders.

A unique leadership programme that supports tamāhine to be powerful agents of change in their community is already making a huge difference for its first cohort.

The Urutapu Tamāhine Programme is a youth leadership project that uses both traditional tikanga and contemporary leadership thinking to empower young Māori women, and take them on a journey of self- discovery and self-actualisation.

Facilitated by Glen Innes-bad Mad Ave Community Trust, it was one of three initiatives that received funding at last year's The Funding Network event.

Co-director of Mad Ave Community Trust, Veeshayne Patuwai says the programme encapsulates everything that she is most passionate about.

"It's about young Māori wahine being the very best they can be and reaching their highest potential. When you empower a young Māori woman in her community, the change that she will make is phenomenal."

"It was a pretty audacious thing to do at the time, as we're a really small community-based charitable trust. It's still really early days, but we're starting to see some really magical things happen."

The first ten wahine, all aged between 16 and 19, began their two-year Urutapu leadership journey in 2016. As well as taking part in group activities, mentoring, interactive workshops, and physical and mental challenges, they each had to design and implement a project for the benefit of their own community.

Veeshayne says that they are seeing increased self-confidence, and a greater awareness of ability to create change amongst the ten tamāhine.

"They are more confident, reliable, open to change and have a greater awareness of their ability to create change, a deeper understanding of what leadership means to them and how it can serve others."

"The importance of programmes such as Urutapu is vital. They say you can measure the health and wellbeing of a nation by the health and wellbeing of their women, which I believe is true. Our hope is that anyone and everyone that is touched by our kaupapa will be able to recognise their sacred adventurous spirit, and understand that when we have the courage to live our lives in alignment with that, tino rangatiratanga or self-actualisation is possible."

Urutapu is currently open for applications for its 2018 intake – find out more at http://www.urutapu.com/urutapu-2018.

Photo supplied by Mad Ave Community Trust.