Steering Hawke's Bay youth from gang life will be the aim of a new government programme announced today.

This morning acting Youth Minister Anne Tolley announced a $50,000 youth leadership and mentoring programme which would give young people with known gang connections opportunities to develop skills that open up alternative pathways to gang membership.

The programme would support participants learning skills such as leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, decision-making and self-management. It will also give then the chance to make a positive contribution to their communities.

The programme was funded by the Ministry of Youth Development, and would provide opportunities for at least 20 local young people.

It will be designed and delivered in partnership with local community groups.


In March Mrs Tolley announced $1.1 million of MSD funding to pilot community programmes in the Bay of Plenty and on the East Coast, aimed at helping partners and children overcome negative gang influences and lead more successful lives.

"The Hawke's Bay youth-focused programme will complement these pilots, and supports the goal of breaking the cycle of intergenerational gang life and welfare dependence," she said.

Positive youth development opportunities could have a tremendous impact on young people's lives, she said.

"It's important we look at ways to help lift young people out of negative lifestyles, and give them confidence to build better futures for themselves."