This year Thrive Teen Parent Support Trust gathered teen dads together with the mentors and support workers who share this mahi. The young dads would hopefully connect and learn a bit about fishing while the mentors could connect and share ideas about how to do this work best.
We gathered early at Westhaven marina, 11 young dads with five mentors and watched as the other fishing charters came in with their bins full and stories about dozens of kingfish in the gulf. While filleting their snapper they offered us a few fish heads and a few of us gratefully accepted.
The Red Boat arrived a little late and we loaded ourselves and our gear on board, the skipper needed a break to catch his breath and we headed out just on 5pm. It was a 40 minute cruise out to the north side of Rangitoto and we made sure DJ had said a karakia then all the boys had rods working before we mentors started fishing.
There were lots of bites and one big rush where a line was carried away but the fish must have dislodged the hook. Most of us hooked a small snapper but only one was a keeper. We had been busy and lots of fish were measured but were let go for another day.
We settled and agreed to move on to a spot further out, this proved similar, lots of bites but no biggies. Occasionally a couple of lines were crossed and we had to untangle them this and the banter between the dads helped us keep positive and connect with each other.
Some of the West guys knew the South guys through whanau and while the East guys were very focussed on their fishing, they shared in the jokes and laughs at each other. We realised that some mentors had previously helped dads from the other groups that we could discuss our current issues and share ideas about how to keep up good relations with our children, our partners and CYFS.
We got the new BBQ going and started the sausages, this was a small unit but we managed together, when we shared one with the skipper he stopped and asked us where we were all from, when he heard we were a dads support team, he told his story of having to battle to see his kids. One of the young dads took over the BBQ and allowed the mentor to have a break.
The biggest fish was caught by the quiet guy from East. He looked really pleased but didn’t say much, Eddie from West probably won the prise for catching the most little fish. One guy caught a big eel.
The boat had a big Kahawai left from the previous charter and one of our dads got to take this home. Our youngest dad-to-be caught a keeper and had something to take home for dinner.
A few fish heads will make soup for the mentors. This gave us a whole of boat feeling and we came back well fed, connected and happy.
Many thanks to Julia Areaiiti of Otara Health, Chris Makoare of Glen Innes Family Centre, Andrew Shaw of Changeworks and Eddie Pilisi from the Young Dads West Group.