Generosity keeps youth moving

Kahu Youth Trust has recently purchased a second van, thanks to support from several local funders and clubs. The white 12 seater Toyota Hiace was proudly on display with its brand new logos at the Matariki Community event at the Dinosaur park. 

On the day two youth who attend Kahu Youth Trust , as well as representatives from the trust, had an opportunity to meet up with Pip O’Regan from Aspiring Rotary and Nicola Brown from Wānaka Rotary to thank them and take photos with a professional photographer Jeannine Tuffin. The Rotary clubs contributed a whopping $12,000 combined to the project. Other generous funders included Wanaka Golf Club, Otago Community Trust, and The Lion Foundation.

Kahu Youth Trust empowers youth of the Upper Clutha to live their best lives by providing youth development programmes, safe spaces, and fun activities, so they can connect to their wider community, increase their self-esteem and build their confidence and life skills. Kahu Youth Trust runs many projects throughout a school term and during the holidays. 

A second van now allows Kahu Youth Trust to meet the demand for their programmes as access to transport is essential for most youth development programmes. This project effectively means that they will be able to provide more activities and services for more youth in the Upper Clutha region, especially rural areas.

Youth with Pip O’Regan and Nicola Brown celebrate the purchase of Kahu Youth Trust’s new van. Jeannine Tuffin Photos at Stories.
Thanks to the generosity of; Aspiring Rotary, Wānaka Rotary, Wānaka Golf Club, Otago Community Trust and The Lion Foundation. Photo Credit – Jeannine Tuffin Photos at Stories.

Matariki Celebrations 2022

Presented by: Kahu Youth Trust

Where: Dinosaur Park and Roys Bay Reserve

When: SAT 25 June, 2pm onwards

Kapa haka & activities 2pm – 5pm, Māori history and legends from 5pm, Hangi from 5pm, Fireworks.

We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to bring our community together to connect and celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Year!!

Te Kāhui o Matariki is a cluster of stars that rises in mid-winter, marking the start of the Māori New Year. The New Year celebrations provide an opportunity for whanau and communities to come together to reflect on the year that has been and refresh, reset and rise for the year ahead.

This year’s celebration is a great whānau event and is sure to warm a cold winter’s night! Spectators will be able to enjoy whakangahau(performances), hangi and fun, free activities that represent Te Kāhui o Matariki (star cluster). 


An important part of Matariki is coming together and sharing kai. The hangi will be served from 5:00pm and will feed over 700 people! A koha (donation) is asked for the hangi.

Te Kāhui o Matariki

The nine stars of the Te Kāhui o Matariki cluster each represent a different natural living system. Kahu Youth Trust has collaborated with local environmental groups, Grow Wanaka, Te Kakano, WAI Wānaka, and WAO, to create fun activities for tamariki and rangatahi to participate in, to teach them the meaning of each star and enrich their experience of Matariki. Tamariki and rangatahi can get their ‘star map’ at the Kahu Youth Trust marquee and will receive a stamp at each activity as they journey across the Te Kāhui o Matariki star cluster. Activities will be open for tamariki and rangatahi from 2pm – 5pm.


The community stage will celebrate Māori culture with captivating kapa haka performances from local schools and community groups as well as enriching local Māori history and legends (purakau) as told by Darren Rewi. As the sun sets, fire dancers will memorize crowds with the twirling of flames along the lakes edge. Spectacular fireworks over Lake Wānaka conclude the Matariki celebrations at 6:30pm. 

Our kapa haha performance line up and performance times will be confirmed and listed on this page on Friday 17 June.

As always, Kahu Youth Trust is incredibly grateful for all the help and generosity we are receiving from the community towards this community event. Thank you – we simply couldn’t do this with you.

Covid Update

To align with the changes to the NZ Protection Framework on Wednesday 23rd March, Kahu Youth has made the following changes:

  • QR scanning is not required
  • My vaccine passes are not required
  • Masks are required when indoors
  • Masks are not required when outdoor

Covid is currently circulating within our community as we ride the Omicron wave. We will continue to promote to COVID-19 safe practices such as; hand sanitising, increased ventilation and thorough cleaning.

Thank you for your ongoing support, we will keep you updated on any changes.

Please contact KYT Operations Director, Anna Sutherland if you have any questions. 

Stay safe,

Kahu Youth


How long will this last? Kahu Youth will regularly review and make changes to respond to the continuously changing COVID-19 environment.

Can I talk to a Youth Worker about vaccinations? Youth Workers will not start a chat with youth about vaccinations. However youth can start a chat about vaccinations with youth workers if they wish. Youth workers are bound by the Code of Ethics for Youth Workers in Aotearoa, which gives guidance on how to approach conversations with young people about vaccinations, or about anything that youth workers have strong opinions on.  

Need more support? Many of us are finding things tricky at the moment. It is OK to ask for help from one of our Youth Workers. They are great at listening, positive and can help you navigate challenging feelings and thoughts. 

There are also many other places you can get help. Here’s some especially for rangatahi.

The Lowdown

Feeling stressed or anxious about COVID-19 is normal for a lot of us. The Lowdown has tips on how to handle stuff, like deep breathing, doing something active, and staying connected to your mates.


Life can be pretty stressful sometimes and our thoughts can bring us down. Melon has techniques on how to accept yourself, build confidence and manage your emotions to help you get through. 

Voices of Hope on Instagram

Voices of Hope has lots of techniques to help with your mental health.


Everyone has mental health. Learning how to look after your mental health creates ‘Mental Wealth’. Make yourself rich in mental wealth so you can spend it on taking care of yourself and others.


Youthline provides a free Helpline service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to young people, whatever is going on for you. Contact by text, phone, webchat and email. 

Or check out our resource page on our website.

Inaugural Kahu Youth Trust and Rotary Club of Wanaka Scholarship Winner 2021

On Tuesday, November 30th at the beautiful Rippon Hall Kahu Youth in partnership with the Rotary Club of Wanaka awarded the inaugural Kahu Youth scholarship.

This past year at Kahu Youth, one of our goals was to create more opportunities for young people to participate in tertiary study. Therefore, Kahu Youth created their first ever scholarship, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Wanaka which focuses on individuals who have chosen the non-traditional path to tertiary study. We want to celebrate more than academic achievement but highlight community involvement, intrinsic motivation to achieve goals and extra curricular activities. Initially we were offering one, $1500 scholarship to an individual who showed determination, drive, and an appreciation for the Upper Clutha community.

The two finalists, Temo Heath and Jessie Barkman-White demonstrated extreme tenacity towards achieving their future goals, making it so difficult for the interview panel to choose one recipient, that two scholarships were awarded! Over the past year, we here at Kahu Youth have developed a strong and rewarding relationship with the two winners. We know them both to be caring, kind, supportive, passionate, intelligent, exuberant and all-round, wonderful people. Temo will be attending SIT next year completing a certificate in Event Technology before moving on to study a Bachelor of Audio Engineering. Jessie will be attending NMIT to complete level 3 and 4 in Cellar Operations.

Each of our winners will be awarded $1500 towards any tertiary school related expense for the 2022 school year. Kahu Youth and the Rotary Club of Wanaka want to celebrate youths’ motivations to gain quality education and qualifications, and understand that not all youth take the traditional approach to tertiary study. The scholarship is designed to target those individuals 16-24 who have been in the workforce and or have been out of the education system for a minimum of 6 months but are applying to a tertiary program as a young adult.

We understand the financial difficulties faced when making the change from worker to student, and want to be the extra support you need to achieve your academic goals.

Scholarship applications for the 2023 school year will be opening up next year. Please keep an eye out on our website and social media for when they open. It’s never too late to learn!

Congratulations Temo and Jessie, you will represent Kahu and the Rotary Club of Wanaka well.

Northlake Skatejam

Kahu Youth had an epic day at the Northlake Skatejam hosted by Tyler Isherwood, a local skater who wanted to create a fun, community and family friendly skating event as a fundraiser for Kahu Youth! The sunny day attracted families and friends from Wanaka and as far as Christchurch and Queenstown to participate in the many events held. Pump track trials, timed skate sessions and a game of S.K.A.T.E. brought together all ages, showing off their latest and greatest tricks. It was amazing to see generations of skaters laughing and skating together, with participants aged from 3 to 45. Some familiar Kahu Youth faces were spotted in the crowds and competing. 

A HUGE thank you to everyone who got involved and supported at this event, either by volunteering, skating or cheering from the sidelines! All proceeds from the registration fees and sausage sizzle were donated to Kahu Youth, raising over $400. These funds raised will go towards a new van, allowing us to expand our programs within the Upper Clutha community. Check out some of the awesome pictures showcasing the participants that came, skated, and dominated the pavement. Finally, another HUGE thank you to the amazing sponsors for providing epic prizes, this event would not have been the same without your generosity. 

Sponsors: RAD Skate school, New World Three Parks, Pavement Store Dunedin, Peeps Dunedin, Hire Centre Wanaka, Base Streetwear, Cheapskates Wanaka, Wanakup NZ, Red Star Burger, Cinema Paradiso, Realm and Amigos Wanaka.

Spring Holiday Programme

What a crazy couple weeks it has been at Kahu Youth! Kahu’s Spring Holiday Programme kicked-flipped off to a fantabulous start, hanging with the RAD Skatecrew! We enjoyed some upcycling with our friends at Wanaka Wastebusters! The youth had some good ole’ community work at the newly created Wanaka Community Shed helping build food pantries for the Community Hub. We then met up with our friends at M!NT for a midday fiesta at Amigos before heading to paint an awesome mural at the Wanaka Recreation Centre. This week Kahu Youth mini-putted, lounged at Paradiso, got their creative juices flowing whilst constructing delicious burger creations at Red Star, climbed high with WildWire and bowled their way into the weekend in Queenstown. It’s no surprise the youth will be tired for school on Monday, but man did we have a blast! Keep an eye out for Kahu Youth’s Summer Holiday Programme in January 2022 – it won’t disappoint!

Welcome Anna

Kahu Youth are delighted to introduce Anna Booth, our new Operations Director.  Anna joins the organisation with a wealth of knowledge in the empowerment and delivery of programs for youth, having managed at another charity for over a decade.

Anna started her career in the charity sector starting out in 2009 as a Dance Educator, teaching a small group of kids with Down syndrome. Word spread and classes grew, and the dance program was formalised as a charity called emotion21 (now Inclusion Foundation).

During her time at emotion21 she took on a multitude of roles – often at the same time! As Artistic Director she took great pride in creating meaningful opportunities for those with intellectual disabilities including; International performance tours to India and South Africa, collaborations with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Cira and The Australian Ballet School and new innovative programs to meet the community’s needs. More recently as emotion21’s Manager she led the community with care though covid lockdowns, launching virtual classes to allow people with Down Syndrome from across Australia to stay connected and moving. Anna has a Dip. of Leadership and Management. 

Anna is a passionate and highly skilled individual that will bring leadership, mentorship, enthusiasm and drive to the Kahu Youth team. We are truly grateful to have Anna onboard at Kahu Youth and can’t wait to see what 2022 brings! Anna can be contacted via and looks forward to meeting Kahu Youth’s community supporters and partners very soon. 

Time for a new website

This month, Kahu Youth Trust has created and launched a new website. It’s on WordPress so that our youth worker team (and eventually some of our local youth) can easily update it.

We are preparing Kahu Youth for some additional activities and services which we’ll be offering to the community, as well as some new functionality which we’ll soon be rolling out to the community via our website.

We intend to keep the news and information flowing, and to make it easy for you to find what you need, fast, online.

As ever, we’re super keen to receive feedback. So if you think we could be doing something better, differently or with more impact, let us know!

Kahu Youth’s first ever scholarship – with Rotary

$1500 towards school related expenses. Now that we have your attention …

Kahu Youth Trust and the Rotary Club of Wānaka are excited to announce the first ever Kahu Youth scholarship!

Kahu Youth has partnered with the esteemed Rotary Club of Wānaka to offer a scholarship to an individual attending their first year of tertiary study. As a youth service, Kahu recognises that not all individuals take the predictable path to attain further education. Some may have left high school early, some may have entered the work force, and some may have not known they wanted to continue studying at the age of 18.

Kahu and the Rotary Club of Wānaka have created a scholarship for those individuals who are choosing to return to the books and attend tertiary study later in life. All applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 24, have a permanent residential address in Wānaka and surrounding areas, have been out of school for a minimum of 6 months, and be enrolled in their first year of tertiary study inclusive of apprenticeships, trade school, polytechnic and university.

The winner of the scholarship will receive $1500 towards any school related expenses for their upcoming school year.

For more information about applying and to download the application package please visit click on the link below or find it at or by emailing

Matariki celebrations a hit

Kahu Youth’s 11th annual Matariki event took place yesterday, once again celebrating Maori New Year. The event was held at the Dinosaur Park and the beachfront.

This event is about bringing the community together, with many of our local youth involved in aspects of the celebrations: from local bands, to workshops, to live performances and of course the hangi.

As ever, the event finished with a fabulous fireworks display above Lake Wānaka, an absolute highlight for many locals and visitors.

Our thanks go to the numerous businesses and individuals who helped make this year’s Matariki such a special and fun event. Without your help and generosity, we simply couldn’t do this..