Rangatahi Tourism Training Programme

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Rangatahi Training success for Draxson Kerr


Starting in 2002 with 20 candidates, our Rangatahi Training Programme has delivered young, skilled and passionate rangatahi into the tourism industry, each year, for two decades.


Operating in 3 parts – identifying (iwi affiliated or tourism focused rangatahi), training and employing; the Rangatahi Training programme’s long term future focus is firmly set on becoming a full-time NZQA qualified course that in time grows to a nationwide offering and an industry and iwi partnership. Tukua!


One of our earliest trainees Draxson Kerr joins us to reflect on the early years of the programme, what the training did for him and where he is now.

Name: Draxson Kerr

Hononga – Iwi and hapu affiliations: Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Te Maunga. Te Arawa, Ngai Terangi

Course year: 2009

Current position/job title: Resident Youth Worker

Current aspiration: To seek a role in management around community health and supporting growth in our Rangatahi.


Q: How did you find out about the Rangatahi Training programme?

I was just in the right place at the right time – I was on a work experience gateway programme from Western Heights High School at Kaitiaki Adventures and it all fell into place.

Q: Was the course what you expected and was adventure tourism something you seriously considered as a career before the course?

Adventure tourism wasn’t really on my radar before this, I just thought of it as something fun and at the time I was thinking about joining the army but I soon realised how cool this was as a job.

Q: What was the best part of the course for you?

The epic and crazy raft flips and swims on the Kaituna

Q: What would you love to see happen in the tourism industry?

It’s been some tough years for the industry and a lot of companies have done well, it would be cool to see it flourish again so other people can get into the industry and experience what it has to offer. Personally I achieved all that I wanted in my career as a river guide and have moved on to youth mahi, but it will always be a part of my identity and something I can always come back to.

Q: What advice would you give to rangatahi who have a passion for te taiao, to make it work for them, career wise?

Give things a go and always try your best! There are always plenty of opportunities to get that dream job but you have to recognise it or give things a go to let it develop interest. If you don’t strive hard enough to achieve your goal then you will only ask yourself the “What if?”. For me our class was asked to run up a steep hill carrying 5 litres of water a few times and because I ran up doing my best and doing better than anyone else the teacher decided to contact his friends and give me the opportunity to be the first to start in this outdoor tourism industry focused work experience course, the rest is history.

Q: How has the Rangatahi course helped you in terms of career growth?

For me being able to meet and connect with different people all over the world from all walks of life.

Q: Would you recommend the course to local rangatahi?

Absolutely. The confidence and experience will always add to their mana as well as give them the tools of communications that will help them in any job. For the industry to grow its important to always put in the effort for our rangatahi to understand and see it as a career option.

  • Review of: Cath Hagan
    If you havent already been white-water rafting then this is the BEST place in the world to have a go!
  • Review of: Sarah H
    Be prepared for an adventure, the views are stunning, and the sense of awe and accomplishment at the end was amazing.
  • Review of: Tristan P
    A must do! Our guides Cam & Curtis were amazing and really funny. Definitely the highlight of the month.
  • Review of: Caradis A
    What an amazing time! We had so much rafting fun, even though at first I was terrified. Will recommend this to everyone.
  • Review of: Te-Aroha P
    Such an exhilarating experience. We loved all the waterfalls and rapids, but we always felt safe with an awesome safety crew.
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