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Boxing and life lessons go hand-in-hand

Boxing and life lessons go hand-in-hand

  • 16 Feb 2020
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  • Cook Islands
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While sport was the drawcard, Jayde Hunter-Transom (pictured) has provided students at Tamatea Intermediate School who attended his boxing classes with much more, sharing his own life experiences, and teaching them about resilience. 

The 25-year-old of Cook Island and Māori descent lives in the Napier suburb of Taradale. 

When the Hawke’s Bay SENZ coach Jonathan Suavaga met him, he was unemployed but he had been interning at a local church in Napier and volunteering at Tamatea Intermediate School for a few months. 

Aimed at equipping and training people for a better future by providing foundational training and employment services to people who require support and guidance to access training and employment opportunities, SENZ is a Service Provider for the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Tupu Aotearoa programme. 

Until recently, Tupu Aotearoa has only been available to Pacific young people living in parts of Auckland and Hamilton but last year, thanks to the support of the Provincial Growth Fund, the programme has been expanded to regions around the country, including the Hawke’s Bay.

Jayde joined the Tupu Aotearoa programme, and he and Jonathan started to visit the intermediate school to hang with troubled youth at lunchtimes, Jonathan explains.

Easy to relate to, Jayde built a great rapport with the students.

“His initiative was to run boxing classes at school as a drawcard, but in that space, he would teach them so much more than boxing,” he says.  

Students as well as the wider community were hearing great things about Jayde’s boxing classes, so the Principal of the school conducted a study on the behavioural patterns of the students attending the classes.

“This study showed from the beginning of the programme to the end of the two-month period, there were huge differences in students’ responses and less offences within the classroom and school,” Jonathan adds.

Having decided Jayde’s initiative was effective in integrating students into normal curricular, Tamatea Intermediate’s Principal offered him a Teacher Aid role which he gladly accepted.

He is now employed to look after high needs and at-risk youth, while continuing to run boxing classes and is excited about the journey in front of him.

Jayde is another example of how Tupu Aotearoa is empowering and changing Pacific young peoples’ lives by giving them access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities.