Peter Butler, Kaihautū (Captain of the Waka) of Palmerston North’s Highbury Whānau Centre, has been working with rangatahi for more than two decades, in both the community and on the rugby league field.

Peter, alongside his team, have developed the W.A.R Programme (Work readiness, attitude, and reliability) to tackle the transition from school to work for young people, In a bid to capture those falling through the cracks.

The W.A.R Programme is designed for rangatahi aged 17 – 20 to transition into the workplace with confidence and the skills to begin and maintain employment.

Butler also coaches in several different spaces, including the NZRL U16s Residents, Viper’s Men’s Championship team, and the victorious U20’s Central Districts squad.

Peter has found success in both areas he operates, helping young people become employed and rugby league youth grow into fantastic young men.

Butler commented, “It is more than a game for us; it’s about connecting and building relationships with young people.”

Besides the outstanding mahi Butler does in the Palmerston North community, he transfers his skills from the community space to grow rangtahi participation in rugby league.

“Whether it is teaching them skills for the workplace or coaching our U20’s boys the fundamentals of the game, we aim to work alongside youth and unlock their potential.”

“Majority of our boys are Maori/Pasifika in the rugby league space. Our people have so much untapped potential due to the lack of support some of them get, our mission is to be that support. To be that backbone they can find solace in.”