The establishment of a Wairoa Youth Council has been "a long time coming", says Wairoa Mayor Craig Little.
The youth council was unanimously supported and approved of at a Wairoa District Council meeting last Tuesday.
Comprising of nine local youths between the ages of 16 and 25, the council will provide an independent youth voice to support decision-making processes at a local government level.
Little said the development of a Wairoa Youth Council is a great initiative.
"It is really exciting to finally be establishing a youth council as it has been a long time coming, with previous councils, and particularly councillor Denise Eaglesome-Karekare and myself, aspiring to this for years."
He said today's youth were tomorrow's future, making it important their voices were heard.
"We need to make sure we have provided clear channels to allow our rangatahi to express their views.
"A Wairoa Youth Council is an innovative way to engage and connect with our young people and ensure Council's decisions plan ahead for future generations."
Applications for the youth council are now open, with successful candidates to be appointed by February next year for a three-year term in line with local government elections timeframes.
The Wairoa Youth Council will comprise two members from the Wairoa township and one member from North Clyde (Township North), Raupunga/Mohaka (Southern Wairoa), Frasertown/Te Reinga (Northern Wairoa), Tuai/Waikaremoana (Lakes), Iwitea/Whakakī (Eastern Wairoa), Nūhaka/Mōrere, and Mahia.
An elected member from the Wairoa District Council and the mayor will also sit on the youth council, which will meet every six weeks and report to the council.
A key role will be to assist the district council with its planning processes and projects, with a focus on the provision of services and facilities that have a potential impact on young people.
The Youth Council will also be a vehicle for identifying local youth needs and resources and developing youth leadership skills through experience of representation processes, local government and civic activities.
More information, including about how to apply, can be found online at https://www.wairoadc.govt.nz/