Contemporary Rites of Passage

I dream of creating a vehicle,
a form, a process for the far-children
by which they and their generations
may honour each other. It must be so beautiful that they won’t be able to resist it. It must also be flawed enough that they won’t be able to keep their hands off it.

Don Bowak, 2006

Widely practised by indigenous cultures around the world, rites of passage offer an archetypal process to mark the transition from one life stage to the next. Rites of Passage offer us a map for the transformation and understanding oneself, each other and the gifts we have to offer the world.

Rites of passage draw on the ancient human technologies of nature connection, storytelling, physical challenges, games, ceremony and creative arts. They may also mark other important life changes and stages, such as birth, marriage, becoming a parent, undergoing a significant change in relationship to oneself or another, or entering elderhood.

The Rites of Passage Foundation are a Registered Charitable Trust that supports young people's development and well being.

Our programs address the increase in isolation, anxiety and mental health challenges by providing tools and resources for young people to navigate challenges in their environments and to actualise their goals.

Our work focuses on the significant stages of young people's lives and involve whānau and the wider community, recognising the important role they play in their development.




Our Programmes



Rites of Passage
5 day residential Rites of Passage program for girls and their mothers (Tides) and for boys and their fathers (Tracks) run three times a year during the school holidays. 

Rising Tides/Sons
Pre rite of passage weekend program for girls age 9-11 and their mums, and boys 8-10 and their dads run twice a year. 

Youth Leadership Pathway
Youth that have attended a rite can return as a Young Leader or Tuakana (buddy), developing valuable skills in leadership, facilitation, teamwork and communication.

A 5-day gender inclusive program open to ages 18 - 35. An opportunity to connect the wider community with rites of passage, inviting Tracks and Tides whānau to bring a friend or partner who hasn’t journeyed through our rites of passage program before.

Ebb 'n' Flow and GMMT
Once a year, we run weekend residentials for women (Ebb 'n' Flow) and men (Good Men Make Tracks) with an interest in rites of passage, transition & life's stages. This could also be a gateway to being involved in the Tides or Tracks work.

Marking Life's Stages
A gender inclusive and inter-generational gathering that welcomes adults to consciously mark the life stage or transition that is emerging. The weekend offers an opportunity for couples, siblings, or parents and their adult children to experience a facilitated rite of passage, journeying together. 

Wilderness Solo
A wilderness solo is a contemporary translation of the ancient ritual of the vision quest, which was held in all corners of the world. Alone in the wilderness...with only yourself, and nature as your companion. This program runs once a year for seven days at Canaan Downs up on top of Takaka Hill in Golden Bay.

Funding Your Rite

From the outset ROPF has been determined that any family who really wants to participate should not be prevented from attending for financial reasons.  

To this end we have put a number of facilities in place. Firstly, self design payment plans (minimum of $40 per week) are available to all, allowing families to spread their payments. A $400 non-refundable deposit is required to secure you and your child's place.

Then, for those needing further assistance we look to a collaborative approach taken case by case.

Working together we will explore fundraising possibilities, like making grant applications to outside organisations for example and when available, we may also be able to allocate scholarship funds that have been gifted to ROPF to support families who need it.




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