The week-long post-recovery camp for clients of Nga Kete’s Addiction Service supports exercise, self-expression and wellbeing. Its purpose is to maintain and sustain recovery from alcohol and drug addiction by re-engaging with our natural environment through physical and spiritual activity.
The camp took place in May where participants enjoyed physical activities and tasks including daily fitness, tramping, waka ama, and environmental awareness.
Addictions Manager and camp organizer Pikihuia Ruffell said the 9 participants enjoyed the camp and described it as amazing, healing and therapeutic.
All of the camp goers joined in activities, some of which they’d never attempted before such as waka ama and flax weaving. Some of them were emotional towards the end of the camp because they had enjoyed it so much, she said.
The participants spent their evenings creating Tukutuku panels, which they, along with Nga Kete, will donate to agencies such as the Salvation Army and DASS this month.
The panels are a modern take on a traditional Maori art work using raffia paper and peg board. They were an amazing way to wind down after some physically challenging days, she said.
Camp participant Michael, who has been sober for three years, said he stepped out of his comfort zone and got to know people he normally wouldn’t at the camp.
He enjoyed the morning exercise, going for walks, the variety of activities and getting involved with others.
There was a set structure and always something to keep entertained, he said.
“I’d thoroughly recommend it to those in early recovery that are seeking alternatives to using. It’s a good way to find new ideas and new alternatives to a better way of life.”
Another participant Holly-Maree said although apprehensive, she decided to go to get out of her comfort zone, which she describes as the best place to grow.
Holly-Maree enjoyed the unity between camp goers, and getting involved in the activities, which had been healing, she said.
“The camp built up my self-esteem, and my self-confidence. It made me realise there are people out there that actually care. I was understood and my addiction didn’t matter to them. I was just another person they wanted to get to know.”
“The camp has made me really passionate about getting into the real world properly as an adult. To look for a job and not sit idle in limbo.”
She was so grateful for the facilitators who took time away from their families to “come and care about us. They put all of their heart into wanting to get us better.”
NKMP Rangatahi AOD Kaimahi Greg Houkamau, who attended the camp, said the participants were out of their comfort zone in an environment they weren’t familiar with, and each came out with a sense of belonging.
Nga Kete staff member Maira Boyle, who also attended camp, said it was great to watch everyone come together as whanau in a new setting. She enjoyed watching the participants join in the activities and help each other out.
The next camp will be held in October. If you or someone you know may be interested give us a call on (03) 214 5260.
* Waka Ama photographs by David Fenton.