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Northland teen's 10-day Spirit of Adventure voyage takes him from 'quiet Maori student' to head boy

Ten days on the Spirit of New Zealand took one Northland teen from a "quiet Maori student", to a confident young leader.

Luke Dayberg took part in the Spirit of Adventure Trust's character youth development programme, which see 40 teens from ages 16 to 18 live on board a ship for 10 days.

Since then he's gone on to become Head Boy of Kamo High School in Whangarei.

"I would never have gone for head boy if it wasn't for the Spirit of Adventure, and I'd say that the experiences that I learnt on the trip really helped me to become the leader that I am," Mr Dayberg told 1 NEWS.

Since 1973 the Spirit of Adventure Trust has provided Kiwi youth access to a character development programme.

Each 10 day Development voyage takes on board 40 "trainees", young people aged 16-18, from all around the country, each voyage also has an equal mix of 20 females and 20 males.

"It's really just about testing their boundaries and proving to them that they can do more than what they believe they can do," Spirit of Adventure Trust CEO Dean Lawrence told 1 NEWS.

Currently about half of the young people taking part are scholarship supported.

"The trust has a core ethos of making sure that no one, because of financial reasons, is prevented from getting on board," said Mr Lawrence. 

Mr Dayberg was one of those teens, his life-changing 10-day voyage was sponsored by Mitre10 Mega in Whangarei, whose owners want to "make a meaningful difference in the lives of local teens".

For Luke the voyage was just the challenge he needed to boost his confidence.

"At first I was real anxious - actually, I was really, really nervous. I think I was like shaking of nerves," he told 1 NEWS.

"It definitely increased my confidence; it really helped me step out of my comfort zone, meeting people I wouldn't really talk to and stuff like that, and just working as a team really."

Luke's not the only one whose life has improved after the voyage.

Ongoing Otago University research suggests participants' self esteem, self-efficacy, desire to engage and resilience improves after a 10-day voyage. 

"Teachers also are very confident that young people will return to the classroom better students for it," said Mr Lawrence. 

Since returning from his 10-day voyage, Luke Dayberg has gone on to become Kamo High School’s head boy. Source: 1 NEWS