Nina Griffiths says it is important the opinions of young people be heard when it comes to suicide prevention plans.

So when the Kaitaia teenager was asked to attend a youth conference on suicide prevention in Wellington she also used a scholarship to take Far North youth - Quintin Moeke, Tangaroa Kapa, Billy Rutherford, Sammy Hokianga and Joe Wells - with her.

"These are opportunities that don't get awarded often.

"These boys are leaders in their kapa haka groups, in their families, in dance and art and drama. They're amazing guys and they represent what it is to be from Northland. It's a chance for them to network," she said.


The 18-year-old has been a strong campaigner for youth suicide prevention in the Far North since losing friends to suicide.

She will be gathering the opinions of young people attending the four-day UnSpoken Word Forum with InOvation Trust to submit to the Ministry of Health as part of feedback to its draft suicide prevention strategy.

"The young people coming from this conference are from all over New Zealand. So I'll submit this and say this is what 120 young people from around New Zealand, who are involved in this space, think we need to do."

A public meeting is being held at the Kerikeri RSA today to give people the chance to consult on the strategy.

A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said the location was chosen because it was central, and workshops to inform the strategy were held in Kaitaia and Whangarei early last year.

Ms Griffiths, 18, did not attend the first workshop in Kaitaia as she was not aware of it and was hoping to attending today's hui in Kerikeri.

She said however, some young people were not comfortable in those environments which is why she decided to use her AMP scholarship, which she was awarded for her suicide prevention work, to bring youth from Kaitaia, Te Kao and other rural areas with her.

Ms Griffiths said the youth perspective on suicide prevention was vital.

"Considering the proportion of young people who do take there own lives I think it is very important."