Former league star and ex-convict Jaye Pukepuke continues to give back to his community, while also grooming the next generation of male leaders.
Last year, Pukepuke and co-founder Ben Murray launched Bros for Change programme based on whakawhanaungatanga, hauora, and whānau.
Whakawhanaungatanga takes place over the course of a week in the bush, where the students get to know one another and establish the core values of the group.
Hauora is a day-to-day schedule designed to focus on the mind, body, and spirit. The days are filled with a combination of mixed martial arts training and fitness, taiaha, individual and group therapy, goal setting and self-development classes.
The final week of the programme takes place on the marae with whānau being the theme of the final stages. Here, whānau are invited to join the rōpū before a graduation ceremony.
Despite it being a kaupapa Māori-based initiative, Bros for Change also allows non-Māori students to participate. It illustrates the ethos; 'whats good for Māori is good for all.’
Pukepuke has created a documentary to showcase the programme after approaching Struan Purdle of Earlybird Media last October.
Purdle says Jaye’s story aligns with the documentary narrative of second chances.
“Here’s a guy who grew up tough in a world of rugby league, violent crime and maximum security prison who’s turned it all around and is now giving back. Its part of what inspired the name of the film, Tell Me I Can’t.”
Pukepuke says, “When I think about it, the title reflects the theme that so many people have said, ‘You can’t write a programme for vulnerable youth, not when you’ve been in jail.”
The documentary follows eight young males from Haeata College who took part in the six week Bros for Change programme. It gives the audience an inside of the processes of the programme from the beginning through to the end.
The Christchurch East whānau services organization He Waka Tapu has supported the Bros for Change kaupapa for a while and Pukepuke continues to maintain strong connections to the organisation.
Interim chief executive Jackie Burrows says the decision to sponsor the premiere was a “beautiful opportunity to continue the relationship”.
“He Waka Tapu is heavily involved in strengthening our communities in the East and Jaye and his team have built this programme from the ground up. It’s incredible to see whānau from our own community going on to inspire and empower rangatahi and we are excited to continue our involvement with Bros For Change,” Burrows says.
The documentary will take place today at the Piano, 156 Armagh Street, Christchurch.
Check out the Bros for Change Facebook page for more details.