A Whangarei military-style residential programme for boys is celebrating the graduation of four of its pupils.
The Leadership Academy of A Company was set up in 2010 in response to the revelation that 86% of Maori boys in Whangarei leave high school with no NCEA qualifications.
Academy chief cadre Ken Tipene says the programme is based on the 28th Maori Battalion's A Company and builds on its legacy of bravery and leadership.
The boys live on site from Sunday to Friday and are taught to be proud of their heritage.
Mr Tipene says four recruits are about to head to university.
They are the first to do so, and Mr Tipene hopes the four boys' success will lay a path for recruits who follow after.