In a statement, the charity says their staff nationwide are being given a three-week break from work after suffering “significant loss and tragedy that has left us in a state of deep sadness and grief,” following the loss of a support worker and the Tauranga arson attack on their drop-in centre.

The charity will return to work on Monday 19 September. Full statement below: 

“Kia ora RainbowYOUTH whānau,
Over the last three months, the RainbowYOUTH board and staff team have suffered significant loss and tragedy that has left us in a state of deep sadness and grief. Firstly, we would like to acknowledge everybody who has provided us with resources or sent messages of love and support – your aroha has been greatly appreciated by our team. We want to tell you how we are doing and let you know that the way we provide support will look slightly different over the next few weeks.
In June, our RainbowYOUTH team was devastated by the sudden loss of Angus Tahere-Hayes, our treasured Õtepoti Support Worker. Anybody who was lucky enough to meet Angus can vouch for their consistent passion for our kaupapa, their level of critical analysis and insight, their gifted way with words and cheeky jokes, and their heart of pure gold.
Angus joined the RY whānau only a few months prior in January 2022, but in that short time, they were able to provide exceptional support to rainbow young people in Ōtepoti, establish our presence in the region, build sustaining relationships with services, and make significant progress towards establishing a takatāpui support group and retreat for young people in Ōtepoti. The loss of Angus has left the RY team and our wider communities with a hole in our hearts that can never be replaced.
In the same week, our Tauranga drop-in centre was subject to an arson attack, which was shocking and deeply distressing for us. Our team in the Bay of Plenty have put in countless hours of tireless mahi over the last 12 months to build the centre into what it was, and the sudden destruction of our centre took us back to square one.
These events have left the RainbowYOUTH team in a state of shock, uncertainty and devastation. Our team works relentlessly and passionately for positive outcomes for rainbow young people across Aotearoa, but we know that in order to look out for others we need to lead by example and first look inwards. The mental health and general well-being of our staff and volunteers is a key priority to us as an organisation, and we need to take important steps to look after ourselves to make sure we are bringing the best version of ourselves to our rangatahi.
With that in mind, we have made the considered decision to take a hiatus for 21 days so that our team is able to collectively process our grief and take time to heal. From August 29th – 19th September, we will not be running any groups, support services, events or campaigns, and our drop-in centres will be closed.
We know this might be disappointing news, but we are confident this decision is the best decision for protecting the sustainability and quality of our mahi going forward. We work and partner with some incredible organisations to provide the services we do, so we’re glad that we have places we can point you to during this hiatus. Check out this link, where you can get in touch. for support during this hiatus:
Ngā mihi maioha,
Kauri Tearaura & Sharnay Cocup-Hughes
Executive Board Co-Chairpersons”