Local Hero, Jaye Pukepuke, honoured for ‘real work, real talk, real change’

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is buzzing that Whānau Ora legend, Jaye Pukepuke, was last night awarded a medal as part of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year regional Local Hero Award.

The Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year Award aims to identify and reward everyday people doing extraordinary things in their local communities. At a regional level up to 250 Kiwibank Local Hero medals are awarded in sixteen regions across New Zealand in November/December annually.   The Christchurch ceremony was held last night.

“Jaye, Ben and their team facilitate inspirational grassroots change that make a real difference for whānau in Ōtautahi, particularly our rangatahi”  says Helen Leahy, Pouārahi / Chief Executive, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for the South Island.

“The philosophical approach that Jaye has driven across his work, is about backing rangatahi to realise their mana, to exercise confidence, to appreciate the value of social connection and enable them to strengthen relationships that will help sustain them on their journey.  He is by all means a Local Hero in his community and wider”.

Founders of Bros for Change, Jaye Pukepuke and Ben Murray saw the need through their own lived experience to take a holistic approach to the complex issues rangatahi face in life. With investment from Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu they were able to develop a six week course which progresses through three central pou or themes; whakawhanaungatanga, hāuora and whānau.

Ms Leahy says, “Jaye is a futures driven leader, who is not afraid of taking risks or putting in the hard work.  Jaye and his team are constantly looking at ways they can support local rangatahi, from hāngī fundraisers to helping whānau over Christmas, to strategising and working towards their next goals to develop their urban style marae and establish a maara kai to meet the needs of their community”.

 “We first met Jaye when he participated in the Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu ‘hothouse’ in 2014, which allowed Jaye to network, develop valuable business and community relationships and progress a great idea into reality. After piloting camps for rangatahi tane in Christchurch in 2016, Jaye and Ben launched Bros For Change in 2017 with their planned series of six week courses.

 “Their latest Whānau Ora initiative Tīmatanga Hou is set up to influence whānau who are on the verge of entering our legal system; it is proactive rather than reactive to achieve behavioural changes. All the research points to working across the generations, establishing connections with culture and values, and working from a basis of strengths”.

“The unique, culturally-based male mentoring approach embedded within the Tīmatanga Hou programme provides an important and effective method for strengthening general wellbeing and engagement of boys at risk of dropping out and failing at school” [1].

One of the most distinctive aspects of the approach is the importance of keeping it real; supporting the rangatahi to make meaningful, achievable goals:

“Our values and beliefs are based around tikanga and this has been emphasised if it’s good for rangatahi (young people) then it’s ok, so we challenge the boys to think about what they are doing? What is correct? What is good? What is real? Real work, real talk and real change – that is our tagline. We tell the truth, we have lived, we’re not squeaky clean, so no sugar coating, we tell it how it is.” (Participant 10, Facilitator)[2].

[1] Impact Report on the Bros for Change Timatanga Hou programme; Dr Anne Hynds, Letitia Goldsmith, Hemi Te Hemi, and Dr Catherine Savage (2018); p8

[2] Ibid,  p30

Link to Bros for Change: https://www.brosforchange.com/

Photo: Jaye Pukepuke with Trevor Taylor, Te Pūtahitanga General Partner Board Chair at the premiere of the Bros for Change documentary early in the year.

Photo: Jaye Pukepuke with Trevor Taylor, Te Pūtahitanga General Partner Board Chair at the premiere of the Bros for Change documentary early in the year.

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