Tamati Robens

Rotorua teenager Tamati Robens (14) will soon be experiencing the language and culture of Mexico with his $2,500 Mazda Foundation grant.

Tamati will travel to Mexico with his Spanish language classmates from Te Kura O Te Kouto in January 2011. While there, he will live with a host family and experience day-to-day Mexican life and study at Instituto Cultural De Oaxaco, which is renowned for its Spanish language programme. While in Mexico, Tamati will also gain credits towards his future university study back in New Zealand.

“Going to Mexico will be a trip of a life-time. I hope to experience the Mexican culture and people and get an idea about what the real world looks and feels like outside of New Zealand,” says Tamati.

Tamati lives with his aunt Tracey Robens and siblings who have all been busy fundraising to reach the $10,000 required for each student to go on the trip. They’ve done this by running raffles and making harakeke kete (flax handbags) and selling them to the local community.

“I am hoping this trip will help Tamati acquire many life skills and transition him from a local boy into an internationally savvy young man. From experience, I know that travel and exposure to other cultures is our best education. Understanding others also helps us to accept others,” says Robens.