The programme itself is seven weeks in total with three weeks spent with us and four weeks back in the community with support from our staff. This is followed with one year total of follow up and community mentoring. A total of six young men will be selected each year.



Referral for the programme can be made by your local NZ Police youth aid officer, based in New Plymouth, Stratford or Hawera.


Our staff will come and meet with you and your whanau face to face for an interview before you are selected for the programme. Often we have a large number of young men who are interested and we will work hard to find those who are the best fit.


Following the interviews our staff will meet and put together a team which will best work together.  All potential candidates will be then be notified if successful or unsuccessful.


If you are successful, family will drop you off on day one and we will kit you out in bush clothing. From there your journey starts with our staff into the Taranaki bush.


The general flow of the isolation phase is as follows:

  • A four day bush tramp, staying in huts and tents. You will trained in bushcraft and taught how to build a shelter in preparation for a two night solo stay.

  • A day canoeing on Lake Rotorangi

  • Two day/night solo experience where you will build and live in your own shelter. Our staff will check up on you make sure you are not too wet.

  • A debrief night following solo where a large number of our staff will come and discuss the experience and the progress you have made.

  • A two day tramp around the beautiful Mt Taranaki

  • A three day stay at our beach hut, where you can learn to surf, sea kayak and gather kaimoana.

Ora Toa

Ora Toa is the name of our house based in Kaponga. Here you will conduct community based activities for your final week with us. During this time our staff will work on putting together a plan for you to return home to the community. We will help connect you with schooling, employment, work experience and other support services before sending you home will all the tools and support to succeed.

A graduation day will be held with your whanau to celebrate your success. 


A full year of follow-up support for the young person from the START Early Community Mentor, Chris Fuller and also for the whanau by the START Early Whanau-Advocate Anna Anderson.