‘Working with youth great as they are full of power’

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Five Questions with . . . Kahu Youth worker Rayner Swartz

Q Can you tell us about yourself?

I was born in South Africa, moved to New Zealand as a wee lad and grew up in Whanganui in the North Island.

I studied at Victoria University a myriad of subjects, but somehow ended up with a bachelor of science in biology and psychology.

Q What does your role at Kahu Youth involve?

As a youth worker I get to engage with the young people around Wanaka; and get to be a positive adult role model.

I enjoy getting to turn our drop-in centre into a safe and fun space for the youth.

I have also taken over the Thursday after-school boys’ adventure club and am currently creating a rock-climbing programme for Tuesdays.

Q What are you looking forward to about your role with Kahu Youth?

I love getting to participate in the programmes we host with the kids. As a big kid myself, I love getting to run around, play games, cook and explore.

Working with youth is great as they are full of power and you never quite know what lies around the next corner.

I find you often learn a lot about yourself in the process.

Q How do you see your role benefiting the local youth of the Wanaka area?

I get to put in a different perspective. I have a background based in the outdoors – I have spent years travelling the world rock climbing and hiked vast parts of New Zealand.

I am pretty high energy and like bringing that into my work. I also love music, electronic and acoustic.

I teach guitar and produce my own weird wacky electronic beats.

I look forward to sharing my passions with the youth.

Q What are two pieces of advice you received as a youngster you think are still valuable for youth today?

Well I’ve always been drawn to the quote “Man cannot discover new oceans, until he has courage to lose sight of the shore”, as a means to follow one’s own sense of curiosity and wonder. And Mumma always told me to keep my hand out of the blender – now that’s some sage and still relevant advice!