The Wilderness Intervention Program Giving Young Offenders a Second Chance

START Taranaki aims to keep convicted teenagers out of juvie.
May 7, 2018, 6:11pm

In New Zealand’s rural Taranaki region, adolescent boys growing up in poverty often end up turning to crime, some racking up criminal convictions before they hit 16. Most young offenders find themselves locked up—but a few get a chance to avoid juvie by participating in START Taranaki, an early intervention program designed to give them a second lease on life. Through individualized counseling, navigating the wilderness of the Taranaki bush, and taking a guided transition back to their communities, START works to make sure kids don’t wind up back in court once they leave the program.


VICE tagged along as one group of boys went through START, hearing what got them in trouble, how they handled the intensive program, and if it'll be enough to get them to change their ways.

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