"Every young person has great potential - it's our job to help bring this out."
At one time I believed I wasn't going to amount to much. It makes me laugh silly today. Boy life is fun when you are young.
Now that I know better, and I have more experience, I am confident in myself and know that I can do what I want to do. This can still be tough. I was 18 when I first built momentum to advocate for change for youth, and it may not have been perfect in the beginning but I kept going and I am working hard in this space.
At times it has been a bit tricky, to say the least. I have a heap of passion and a great big heart yet my kete (in this instance I guess I'm referring to my skills) isn't as full as it needs to be to allow me to reach my vision.
As a million ideas rambled through my noggin, having korero (meetings/conversations) with many people, young and bold, it's fair to say at times I was overwhelmed, yet I saw it and went for it like a shooting star.
Using the youth voice I captured, and notes I gathered, I set in motion my plan and I accomplished something I am proud of.
On Saturday, May 8 at Trigg Arena in Kensington I hosted Te Tai Tokerau Vibes with support from my amazing team at Whangārei Youth Space and friends at Ngati Hine, Wot Matters and the Electoral Commission.
Bringing together young people from the Far North to Whangārei and even from Whakatane, it was great to see the interaction within the various workshops enhancing youth voice.
Yes whānau, I had a dream. I was inspired three years ago and, on that day, I was able to accomplish such an amazing experience for my friends and peers from all around the motu (country). If I can, any of us can.
"You don't know what you don't know" and you don't know if you don't care. It's that we don't know enough about a cause or reason to care about it, not that we don't actually care.
This generation of youth is mighty in my eyes - compassionate, understanding, and empathetic.
It can be challenging for me and my peers to see eye to eye, sometimes, with our grandparents. But we understand that it was a different time and place back then.
Resilience is key and once a young person's potential has been unlocked, they will discover their passion.
More opportunities need to be created for young people so they can really connect with each other, do some cool stuff and be a part of our community.
However you make it happen, make sure you provide a fat feed … that'll bring young ones in and focused.
When young people experience new things their world view opens up, and their vision of what they can achieve is able to be explored.
A word of caution though, when young people find their passion, we go hard or go home. We all want to do great things with our life - we just need some support to do it.
A huge mihi (acknowledgement) to all those who have been holding space for us young people to grow, expand our vision, try new things, allow us to fail and support us to get up! Nga mihi.
Without a supportive community - we can not succeed, help us to help you. Young people are paving the way to the future they need to see for our next generation, what are you going to do to support us?
• Anahera Pickering is community outreach co-ordinator at Whangārei Youth Space. She can be contacted at Anahera@youthspace.co.nz .