Tai Wātea surf therapy programme

Tai Wātea translates to Waves of Freedom.

This therapeutic group programme uses surfing as an effective clinical tool to engage young people who may not respond well to typical intervention. The concept of surfing is also a tangible and understandable analogy for life which is woven throughout the clinical group work. An example of this is how in surfing we must persevere to stay standing up on the board, and in life we must persevere and never give up.
Tai Wātea runs over eight consecutive weeks for one full day each week. Each week consists of surfing and other physical activities in the morning, followed by lunch and cultural work and clinical group work. The young people learn their pepeha which enables them to grow in their identity and confidence. They also learn a haka over the eight weeks which they perform at their graduation.
The clinical group work consists of educational discussions, reflections on their own lives, as well as motivational speakers who come and share their personal journeys of change and transformation. The programme is meant to empower the young people to see that change IS possible, and that they are in control of their futures.
Each week of the programme has a particular theme which is the focus of the clinical group, but also relates to the idea of surfing. There is the recurring analogy of riding the "waves of life" and learning how to "ride the waves well". The young people learn that similar to when you fall off surfing, in life we must learn to get back on the board, paddle out again and catch another wave.

Introduction - Surf Lesson on Land
Freedom - Getting into the Water
Connection - Sitting on the Board
Potential - Paddling In
Purpose - Catching the Wave
Empowerment - Popping Up
Perseverance - Standing on the Board
Maintenance - Riding the Wave
Achievement - Becoming a Surfer