Your teenage boy is engaged in the most exciting and challenging time of his life. He is forging his own identity at the same time entering into a territory of risk and danger involving peer pressure, loneliness, drugs, cars, alcohol, sexual relationships and violence. In addition there is much negativity and a void around what masculinity is and what being a man requires in today's society. Without contact with good men he runs the risk of building a male identity on superficial images borrowed from media heroes. 

Pathways to Manhood is a programme to help men join with others to create an experience for the young men they care about to grow safely and true to themselves. Having now been running for over 20 years, it is an exciting inner and outer adventure. Located in a remote coastal location, Pathways has grown out of Essentially Men's decades of experience with adult males. 


What's covered

The campsite is situated on a coastal location. There will be a balance of risk and safety, challenge and adventure, through activities carefully designed to build confidence and extend comfort zones.  

The campsite is a drug, alcohol and technology free zone. 


Who's it for?

Pathways to Manhood is a rites of passage programme for boys aged 13-15 years of age accompanied by their father or a significant male in their lives.  In the past this has included uncles, older brothers, grandfathers, friends of the family.  If there is no one able to accompany the young man, the Pathways team will endeavour to match him with a suitable mentor. 


Pathways Youth Testimonial

In this video Tom has been willing to share some of his experiences at Pathways to Manhood. Tom participated in the 2014 program and we asked him a few questions about his experience during a Pathways reunion.

Tom was selected randomly for this interview (he was the first to return from the beach) and his experience is personal and specific to him. Each young man who participates in Pathways has his own experience. However many of the inspiring insights that Tom speaks of have been echoed in the voice of the other Pathways to Manhood participants over the past 14 years.

We are impressed with Tom’s honesty and how he has adapted himself as a result of the mentoring that he received from the men at Pathways and we invite you to look deeper than the words and see the honesty of Tom’s experience.


Pathways Father Testimonial

In this testimonial video Charlie speaks of his experience of participating in Pathways with his son. Charlie has previously participated in the Essentially Men program and speaks of the importance of rites of passage work.

Most men who participate in the Pathways program as a father or mentor to a young man have participated in Essentially Men or a similar kind of ‘menswork’ program. We do recommend that you do an EM program, but it’s not essential.

A mother's view

(Pathways to Manhood) was truly a turning point for (my son). At the time he was 15, and relations between him, his stepfather and I were strained, to put it mildly. (My son) had a rough history, especially in terms of bonding with his birth father. Although he appreciates his relationship with his step dad, it is still difficult as a result of earlier troubles. That coupled with various learning difficulties had given him low self-esteem and a destructive cycle had developed over time in which he had negative self-fulfilling prophecies about his abilities and potential. I felt that year like I had one last shot before relations broke down too far and we went our separate ways.


The initiation experience gave him a positive view on what lay ahead for him, being with men of all ages. Reflected back to him over the week were accurate assessments of his strengths and challenges. He was 'seen' by a larger group than he had ever encountered previously. It was a powerful and positive transformative event. He was able to meet the challenges and face himself squarely. And he felt that he belonged to a tribe, not merely accepted but celebrated, and had an important role to play within it. The support provided by the group was pivotal for him in transitioning away from the sphere of our home.


 have always known I wanted my boys to go through some kind of initiation experience. This was better than anything I could have imagined. My goal has always been to enable a free thinking, independent, well-rounded young man to emerge, and Pathways was a key part of that.

Article by Whitianga Counsellor & Psychologist, Steffen Lindner - click to view
Information Sheet  - click to view



Dates for 2022: April School Holidays (Dates to be Confirmed)



Pathways takes place at a magical location right on the water in its own secluded bay, just three hours north of Auckland.  This is the second year we have met at this site -  a member of the Essentially Men community with a very big heart has offered to make his piece of land near Whananaki the new home of Pathways. Embraced by a beautiful valley, we meet outdoors, sleep in tents or even under the stars, while enjoying everything this spectacular setting has to offer.

The site is north-east of Whangarei and 3 hours drive from Auckland.  Come and enjoy camping right next to the beach, on a beautiful Pohutukawa coast, in the company of noble men. Please note NO DOGS as the site is a wildlife refuge.

All meals are included with vegetarian and non vegetarian options available. Unfortunately we are not able to cater to all dietary requirements. If you require a specific diet, please ensure you have food that can be supplemented by the food offered.