Rites of Passage Foundation - Newsletter, June 2022

Kia ora koutou,

It seems like a long time since our last update in the Spring of 2021 and I assume like most, we've experienced quite some challenges during this time. Discussions among team and Trust about how to approach the government imposed restrictions, where we stand as an organisation.... with lots of different views in the room. Not much different from what happens in our communities, really.

The connection and the love and commitment to this work has been paramount. What sealed it, was being around the fire again in the new pentacle, connecting, experiencing and witnessing the transformation in people and in relationships last April, as it was for the first time in a year that we ran our Tides and Tracks rites of passage. 

So, a big thank you to all of you for supporting this work during this time and over the years. Whether that has been financially or through volunteering or any other way of support, your contribution has been and continues to be invaluable.





Being a Charitable Trust aspiring to run community led rites of passage, the support of our community is essential and has always been heart warming.

Looking to the future, there are so many exciting things happening in our work. Our Wilderness Solo is now fully established and runs in November every year. A new program called Crossroads will have it's first run this September and is designed and run for and by young people aged 18-35. And there's more development on the horizon. We'll keep you posted!

The new pentacle has been tested last April and some finishing is still needed. We're currently working on a custom designed chimney and drains around the perimeter. We're also planning to do some planting around the anchor blocks to beautify the place.

Nga Mihi,



Kia ora Koutou,

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koe mo te tau hou.

I'm writing to let you all know that after 16 years of working with Tides and the Rites of Passage foundation I am stepping away from my role as manager and event coordinator. This has not been an easy decision to make but as much as I love this work and the people I stand beside, I simply need a change. As of the 17th of January this year, I have become the new site coordinator for Healthpost here in Golden Bay.

I came on board with Tides in 2004 and I feel like I have received so many gifts in the years since. Meeting and working alongside so many generous and open hearted tāngata has been a highlight.

The whenua on which this mahi takes place, remains a tōanga to me and the fire at the centre will continue to burn brightly in my heart.

I want to thank you all for the mayhem, madness, love and laughter that has woven it's way into my world through our time together. It really has been an adventure!





To all the young people that have courageously stood at the fire and said 'yes', I think I will miss you the most. You are the main reason I have been here so long. It's been a privilege to stand at the threshold with you.

To our wonderful ROPF community, I wish you all the very best for whatever the future may bring. I may be stepping out from my more formal roles but I will still be here in some shape or form and hope to see you around the fire again soon.

Ngā mihi ki a koutou,



For me, this Tides rite highlighted lineage, to be in circle with many wāhine I have known for much of my life, sharing stories, songs and hearts.

A weaving together of many walks of life, with whānau traveling from far and wide to experience, witness and celebrate young women marking a life stage. I am sitting with a deep gratitude for the Tides team, their wisdom, passion and aroha continues to inspire and uplift the rangatahi that come through Tides. 


Kia ora e te whānau.

My name is Siti, I have recently stepped into a new role supporting the admin side of Tides. I am working alongside long-time Tides facilitators Rita and Aralyn, who have taken up co-directing roles for Tides as well as Amy, who's directing and doing the admin for Rising Tides.

My journey with Tides started in 2013, when I came through the program as a girl with my mama, leading to years of returning as a Young Leader and eventually joining the team.

After some years away from Tides, it is exciting to be involved again and support the work in this way. 

We have come from a full April of Tides and Tracks programs, our first rites since April 2021!

It is refreshing to have our feet back on the whenua at the Treefield and welcome in a new era of Tides in the new pentacle.


With love,

Tides April 2022 rite of passage

Tides was the catalyst of a deep change within me. I didn't know what to expect and I didn't fully know what had changed until afterwards. But I certainly shifted inside. Being in such a real and barrier-free environment away from the fiff-faff of society, helped me know myself. I found confidence at tides, confidence in people, confidence in my belonging and confidence in myself and my abilities. Tides Rites of passage is an amazing opportunity for young women, would 100% recommend.

Phoebe Leenhouwers, new young woman

Attending Tides with my daughter was an absolute privilege. The Tides Team created a beautifully encouraging atmosphere where we could celebrate our relationship in what has been and what will be to come. Every moment was planned with care and consideration, creating excitement, mysteriousness, deep thinking and opportunities to go deeper into our relationships with our daughters and with each other.

I am very excited to be able to come back with my other daughters to experience it all over again!

I have huge gratitude to the Rights of Passage Foundation and to the Tides Crew for creating these special opportunities for us as Mothers and Daughters.

Tamsin Leenhouwers, mother

Our family values tides rites of passage program and that is why we travelled over 5000 km from Perth, Western Australia (twice).  In 2019 Hannah did her Rites, then we were unable to travel for years, until April 2022 when we all returned for Amelia’s Rites. 

International travel had many barriers, with multiple cancelled flights but we finally made it, and for that we are deeply grateful to the Tides committee for welcoming us in uncertain times. 

As expat Kiwis living overseas, being connected to the land and community is really important to us.  I love being surrounded by like-minded people, committed to growing and supporting each other during that journey, whether young or older.



I have seen both my daughters, Hannah and Amelia (Mimi), flourish especially afterwards – being more free to be themselves, confident and poised.  Every woman is a unique being, however I think it takes courage to be yourself in a world that gives so many

As a mother, I felt incredibly supported by the women who were there for me, I knew there were many others in the community who prepared the site for us, and I was comforted knowing the younger women were guiding my daughters. After seeing both my daughters’ transition from youth to womanhood, my deeply felt sense is that I can love and let go.  It brings me great joy to acknowledge and relate to Hannah and Mimi as independent young women.

Heidi Waldron, mother

During the journey, we had a lot of women's circles, during which we connected with each other and provided support to each other. We discussed a lot about transition and growing up, and developing and maintaining healthy relationships, especially with our mothers and family. We also discussed personal mental health and how to take care of yourself and set boundaries, even if it means saying "No" to other people.

Mimi Waldron, new young woman




Crossroads is a new program that has come to life out of conversations started at the Rites of Passage Foundation Leaders Weekend in July 2021. The program is inspired by previous ‘TnT’ Tracks and Tides weekends at the Treefield and grows from a desire to explore marking of life stages beyond adolescence. It is an invitation to step into authentic being through rites of passage and ritual, a meeting of paths to cultivate community, and growing our connection to the world around us.


The 4-day program is open to all Tracks and Tides whānau, age 18 - 35. This is also an opportunity to connect the wider community with rites of passage work and invites participants to bring a friend or partner who hasn’t journeyed through a ROPF program before.

Our first Crossroads is happening at the Treefield on 22nd - 25th September 2022. If you are interested, please get in touch with us via



Ngā mihi nui,
Siti, Livia, Benji & Nicholas


In Early April, young people from the Tracks and Tides community came together at Canaan Downs for 2 nights of camping. We had initially planned to have our first Crossroads program during this time, which we rescheduled due to Covid-19, and decided to come together and still mark this time in a meaningful way.

Also in the group were invited partners, friends, family members and even baby Kian. We ate great food, visited Harwoods Hole, and we sat around the fire enjoying the delightful company of so many lovely people. There was a common desire for relaxation and rest after the turbulence and stress of these recent times. Gladly, rest and nourishment is exactly what we got. 



This last rite of passage event in April was a transformational event for me on many levels. It gave me perspectives that I have never had before. I have been to many Tracks events over the years, in many roles, often with my father Jim and us navigating another layer of our relationship, but never as a father, and never as a step father either. I attended it this time with my son Koa.

I have had experience with Tracks right from when it started, I was on the journey with my father Jim and Adge and many others to found and design the Tracks events. They have been a big part of my life over the last 20 years. I have the concept of, and the culture of these events deep in my soul and spirit. Writing, editing and compiling the book 'Marking life's stages' was a milestone in my and my father Jim's relationship and life, it tells the story of Tracks.

To walk that journey myself as a father was profound. It was also the first time at an event since Jim's death, so there was a layer of celebrating his life and legacy as well as grieving and letting go that was happening for me and others. I am still exploring and landing the changes in my relationship with Koa and my own internal shifts.

Being at this event with my step son Marty and his father Nick was another relationship that I was navigating. Nick was a co-founder of Tracks as well and it was significant to be there at the event with him. I value my connection with Marty and it was powerful to be there with him and the other boys from Tui Community, Lief and Arjuna. All four of the Tui boys have grown up around each other so this was a communal rite of passage in quite a clear and deep way.



I have also been looking to tell the story of these events and community for some years now through a film lens working alongside my friend and co-director Rich Humphreys. Rich and I met on a rising sons in 2018 and he attended the last rites with his son Rai. We continue to live into this film telling the story of Tracks as well as my and my fathers story and Tui Community and Mens work in NZ.

As you can see there were many different levels of experience going on for me. During the event I had many moments of deep feeling and connection to the power of this work, this community and love for the facilitators. I appreciated again how beautiful and important these events are. How they become a micro community that holds and shares values of positivity and evolution in ways that plant seeds of change into people's lives. 

What I will also say that I am still integrating and considering what this event means for me, and how it changed me as a Father, Man and also as a son.

Jay Horton

Tracks April 2022 rite of passage

Tracks was a moving and insightful experience. Many new friendships and connections were formed that will always be present and remembered. A lot was learned and much knowledge was taken away. I had a great time at this truly special event. 

Lief Osborne, new young man