A group of young women are starting 2018 with a bang participating in a police programme to help turn their lives around.

The Hine Toa Programme aims to help at-risk youth build their confidence and a better future for themselves says organiser Holly Kairua.

“We are not strict on things, but it’s about doing challenges and I say to them it’s part of life they need to be learning these experiences and really push themselves to try different things.”

The Hine Toa Programme is 13 years old and Kairua says the week-long course is beneficial for teenagers doing it rough.

“There are no offenders we get referrals from school counsellors and some of our family violence team members and sometimes CIB.”

The 12 girls go on a week-long camp at Huia Beach, and pushed to their limits. But talking about their past is off bounds for some.

15-year-old Harikoa Bruce says the programme has helped turn her life around.

“I like that they all help us and support us, they are building our self-esteem and stuff.”

Kairua agrees.

“The importance is that they don’t continue on to be further victims in life and they rise above to do even better and achieve in life.”

The Hine Toa programme runs every two years, and a similar programme for boys called Tāne Toa will run next year.