Rangatahi leader wins inspiring award

A rangatahi leader in Mataatua has been recognised for his mahi educating youth about mental wellness.

Luke Gray is the 2023 Local Award winner of the annual Inspiring Stories Impact Awards. The Awards were held in Wellington in November.

“It still feels surreal to be named amongst some stunning people as a finalist but to be named as the award winner for the local category is humbling and truly an honour.”

Luke is a Mataatua Movement member, a rangatahi advisory committee to the Te Puna Ora o Mataatua Board of Trustees. He is also a Rehua Medical director.

His business, Wāhi, delivers the PETRA Programme to rangatahi across Mataatua, including Te Puna Ora o Mataatua youth service, Tū Māia Rangatahi.

The PETRA programme is a series of workshops that ensure rangatahi are equipped today to face the challenges of tomorrow.

Luke created the programme after a whānau member experienced mental health difficulties. Listening to his whānau member, Luke learnt that there were times during her struggles that she could have received help.

“That was a catalyst to get into the community. I didn’t want any other rangatahi to experience not having support.”

He told his whānau that he was going to create a programme that goes straight to rangatahi and addresses mental health, emotions, and future aspirations.

Having worked in the rangatahi and mental health spaces, Luke came to a point when he needed to determine his future mahi. Recalling his commitment to his whānau member, the PETRA programme was born in November 2022.

Luke has delivered the workshops to six kura and youth programmes in Mataatua and reached more than 400 rangatahi this year.

“We have services for the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. We have preventative services at the top of the cliff. With our preventative model, we see ourselves positioned well before the edge of the maunga.”

Next on the horizon for the PETRA programme is parent and teacher workshops. As well as teaching rangatahi, Luke would like to reach parents and teachers with his teaching, to ensure everyone involved in rangatahi lives are speaking the same language.

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