A programme manager for troubled youth believes the way Government-led boot camps are being run will only lead to teens heading back onto the streets with survivalist attitude.
It's been revealed teenagers at the six-week courses aimed at helping young people at risk have been assaulted, mocked and sworn at.
The courses are run by the New Zealand Defence Force in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development.
The 180 Degree Trust in Canterbury works with troubled youths by teaching them about cooperation and life skills.
Managing Trustee Jeremy Nurse says some teens who go to the boot camps often come back with staunch attitudes.
"I think there's probably a lot of bravado about someone who's been through boot camp and they've got fitter and stronger perhaps but learned to put up with a bit of abuse."
Mr Nurse says treating the teens poorly will not have the desired effect.
"They come from families where violence is a way of life, so using the same culture is not the recipe for success on them. They can be hard work, they have all the tricks of the trade to ruffle you and to antagonise you. You can't yield to that sort of behaviour."