Not long ago, photographer Danial Eriksen heard about a tribe of people who rode wild horses in the far north of New Zealand. Intrigued, he headed up to the Hokianga—a beautiful and remote part of the country where the vast harbour seems to eat into the hills and sky—in search of this mysterious Ngāpuhi Hōiho (Horse Tribe).
What he discovered was a kind of youth group on bareback. About 20 years ago, local matua Rob started teaching the kids of Rāwene how to ride. The legendary horseman, school bus driver and farm owner breeds the horses for the kids. To pay for their stables he mows the school grounds and runs the recycle yard for the council. Rob told Danial his family have always opened their home to the community. "The kids don't have much to do up here and many of the kids come from broken homes and challenging backgrounds," says Rob. "Kids get bored, the hōiho keep them out of trouble and give them something to do."
Most of the members of Ngāpuhi Hōiho range in age from six to 17 years old, but many of Rob's past students come back as adults to thank him for the experience he gave them.
Danial spent the day out with Ngāpuhi Hōiho and his camera and came back with these incredible images showing the connection between kid and horse.
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