As a young wahine still finding her way, I envision a better life for all of us.
For me it was so difficult for years until I started to find my path. I know for our young tane they face much higher barriers and challenges than I, and I wish we would all do more to understand them and uplift their mana because for years society has expected them to fail.
Back in my day I didn't hang out in the library; typically, you'd find me bunking down the tracks with my bros from the local boys' and girls' schools "up to no good" you'd reckon.
But we never caused harm or got into any "trouble" I'd say - we just weren't where we were supposed to be, doing something we weren't supposed to be doing.
Having different environments around me shaped who I am today. The people in the spaces I spent my time, who put effort into me as an individual, enabled me to be where I am today. Imagine if every young person had a village? That's the goal!
Pathway planning and goal setting bring out aspirations within our young people, this is an opportunity to dig into their desires, hopes and dreams.
A young fella who finds himself caught up in trouble wants nothing more than to have a job so he can save up for a flash car and travel around Aotearoa with his boys.
Unfortunately, he's caught up doing things he's not proud of, he wants more for himself and is now seeking support to get in to mahi ... luckily, he has found support that works for him.
Tane are constantly fighting internal battles, it's hard in this world being an indigenous person, let alone being a male, facing systematic racism, stigma, and racial profiling, this also happens to us wahine toa/female and especially takatapui (LGBT).
It is great to see community members pull together to seek solutions for our taitamariki - like the volunteers who are a part of Whangarei Rangatahi Patrols. You can find more on Facebook about this kaupapa (cause).
I see posts on social media of whanau and community wanting to create spaces for our youth after hours. These groups are rallying together, they are like-minded members of our community who want to enhance support in Whangārei areas.
Soften Up Bro is a male mental health movement designed to flip the narrative and attitude around male expression of emotion (Harden up bro!). It is an initiative to encourage men to be vulnerable when navigating their emotions.
Bloody awesome kaupapa (movement)! How else can we be innovative with the way we support our young people?
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow inspired 150 taitamariki to gather in Rotorua at PALMS (Peaceful Action Leadership Movement). This was an opportunity for all young people.
It was invaluable, the spectrum of young people participating was from ages 12 to 23. From a 12-year-old who grew up on their land, in their marae, rich in culture, to a 23-year-old immigrant studying engineering at University of Canterbury ... the korero was so valuable.
Whanau from countries far and wide, working with tangata whenua people building a more inclusive environment for us all.
The power of korero, the ability to be able to express yourself is so difficult for many of us, especially with articulation. I know it's something I'm still learning, and my language does not always mean what I say ... I think about how tough it must be for some of us, unable to recognise our emotions or how we feel, not able to think of the right words.
Spoken word refers to an oral, poetic performance art that is based mainly on the poem as well as the performer's aesthetic qualities. This platform for our young tane (boy) is a space they excel in and, of course, rap fuelled with raw emotion. Communicating lyrically… music is a language everyone can speak.
It was the first time I've been able to hang out and vibe with so many people with world experiences, korero and influenced views brought from their homeland, it was mean as.
"Give them a voice and they will use it," Jordyn recons, lesssgooo!
• Anahera Pickering is community outreach co-ordinator at Whangārei Youth Space. She can be contacted at Anahera@youthspace.co.nz .