Simon Collins is the Herald’s education reporter.

Life in 2030: Young South Aucklanders stick to their roots

Leeana Rapata, 13 (L), Bruce Tapurau and Soloa Aupeipeigamalie, both 14. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Leeana Rapata, 13 (L), Bruce Tapurau and Soloa Aupeipeigamalie, both 14. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Life may be tough in South Auckland, but a snapshot of young people at Manukau's Tupu Youth Library suggests that most of them plan to stay.

Only two out of 16 young people interviewed at the library this month definitely plan to be somewhere else 20 years from now - one in Australia "because of the weather", and one in the United States as a base for his planned career as a professional golfer.

Three others were not sure, and the rest all plan to be back in Auckland by then - or never to have left in the first place.

Yet even here in Dawson Rd, a few metres down from decile-one Tangaroa College, which many of them attend, these youngsters are in touch with the world.

Most of them use social networking sites such as Bebo and Facebook to communicate with friends and family members in Australia, the Pacific Islands and beyond.

And as gloomy forecasts of climatic disaster swirled around the Copenhagen climate conference at the time of the interviews, young people divided evenly over the likely state of the world in 2030.

"Maybe global warming might have decreased from its level right now," says Aram Kim, 14, a year 9 student at Pakuranga College.

Megan Hilikehetele, 19, who answers customer calls for Sky TV, believes there will be "more help out there for families, getting more kids off the streets".

Daniel Sanele, 21, a storehand at Ford, expects that cars will be obsolete. Asked how we'll get around in 2030, he offers: "I think jetpacks, eco-friendly jetpacks."

But Timaru-born Sabrina Smith, 14, thinks things will "go bad with global warming and the recession".

Poa Falena, 19, a linesman operator at the Villa Maria winery, says young people are trying drugs, cigarettes and alcohol at younger and younger ages.

"There's nothing we can do about it. Most of them don't want to go to rehab," he says.

All except two of these 16 young people have definite career plans for the next 20 years. Surprisingly, the most popular career turns out to be the law. Tongan-born Aiona Inisi, 15, is inspired by her sister, already a Manukau lawyer; Sabrina Smith wants to be a lawyer "to help people with their problems"; and Carmen Shearer, 14, wants to be either a lawyer or a forensic scientist.

"I like examining and solving mysteries and crimes," she says.

Two others want to be graphic designers, two want to be engineers or mechanics, and others want to be a carpenter, a hairdresser, an artist, a golfer and a paediatrician.

Rarotonga-born Bruce Tapurau, 14, is one of the would-be mechanics. He came here in 2005 and uses Bebo and the phone to keep in touch with friends back home.

Almost all his family are here and he plans to stay close to them.

His year 9 classmate at Tangaroa, Soloa Aupeipeigamalie, came from Samoa in 2006 and wants to be an artist like others in his family.

Where will he be in 2030? "We'll be living in South Auckland," he says, "because we are Auckland."

- NZ Herald

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