Te Puke High School student Charlotte Buchanan will be in the ''hot seat" when Te Puke Community Board meets this evening.
Charlotte is one of four students from the school who will take turns attending the meetings to give the board a chance to hear the voice of youth.
Te Mote Marsh, Giovanni Rai and Paul Taylor are the other three, with Paul the first to attend a meeting in August.
''It was quite overwhelming at first, but once I settled in I felt welcome. They are all nice people,'' he says.
Community board chairman Richard Crawford approached the school's board of trustees to ask about the possibility of nominating a student to sit in on board meetings and workshops.
''All four of us put our names forward and we're just going to rotate through each meeting, sit there and represent the school and give the students' view on particular issues or events,'' says Paul.
Charlotte says her motivation is to help young people be involved in decision making.
''I've lived in the community ever since I was born. The opportunity was there and I thought 'if I go for it, I can help'. I know a lot of people and this would be a good opportunity to get students' ideas in.''
Te Mote, who is the student representative on the school board of trustees, says his motivation was similar.
''It's about being able to put forward the students' voice.''
Giovanni says he has attended Te Puke Primary, intermediate and high schools and has been involved in the community through the Vector Group Charitable Trust.
He says it's good students are being given the opportunity to have a say as they can see things differently to adults.
''It's the difference between the generations - the generation before us think different to the way we think and the next general will have different ideas.''
Charlotte says because most students are unable to vote, it is important that they have been given a voice in this way ''to get a youth's perspective''.
Paul says the decisions being made by the community board don't just affect those who can vote.
''There are so many students, so many youth, in the community, and a lot of the decision being made are going to affect us and our children in the long run, so having a youth voice is unbelievably important.''
All four students are in Year 12 which means they can continue in the role for the rest of 2020 and the whole of 2021.
''It's easier for other young people to talk to us than it would be for them to talk to adults,'' says Charlotte, who has done some work on finding out what the issues concerning young people are.
She says there are concerns about the number of alcohol shops in Te Puke and that young people would like to see more parks and skateparks, more plant life, neighbourhood enhancement, a food stand and a bike track.
Giovanni says he believes more is needed in Te Puke for young people.
''We used to have the Youth Hub, then that closed down, then we had Vector Charitable Trust and that [building] was closed. Now it's like, there's not one actual place or area that we can hang out as youth apart from the skatepark which isn't very good in wet weather.''
Richard says that during the local body elections there was recognition that it would be beneficial to have youth around the community board table.
''They have no voting rights, but they can offer a youthful view on things being talked about,'' he says.
Tonight's meeting is at Te Puke Library and Service Centre, starting at 7pm.