Young, fun and 21. My name was given to me due to a rocky start into this realm, Anahera Mōrena which my whanau believe is Angel of the Morning. Born and raised in Whangārei and I've also taken some time out to explore the Land Down Under but there's no place like home.

I love my mahi, it fuels my soul. Recently, Whangārei Youth Space, the community and whanau have been suffering a major loss of our friend Brandon Edwardson. This fella just stepped into a new role, a big promotion!

Leading not only his team, but myself and the youth workers as well. We thought he was gonna to change this place for the bigger and better, unfortunately time fell short and we are all in a muck.

I've lost friends to this nasty disease and each had their own impact on me but with the loss of Brandon, I just can't find the words. May you rest easy B-Dawg, please check in on your whanau and friends, no matter how big the smile or how "fixed" their life seems, the struggle is real and we all as a community need to be there to support each other because the whole community gets affected.


I love my whanau, there's no place like home. My mother and two beautiful baby sisters, Carla and Rihana, came home from across the ditch and it has made me realise how much I need them around.

I have my whole whanau over here with me with my mum and her older sister over in Australia. My grandparents have been the statue in my life.

I was raised by my whanau and a carer, experienced some wicked times travelling around with Nan singing at the country clubs, raised with the cuzzies, always up to mischief and adventures.

And most importantly, I'm learning to love myself.

In this column we will be exploring young people, their opinion, their journey, what's going on for them in the community.

This platform will not just be for me, I invite all of you to reach out to me. Get in and amongst it! If you've got a story to share, this forum is for you as well, nau mai haere mai.

• Anahera Pickering is community outreach coordinator at Whangārei Youth Space. She can be contacted at .



If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


• LIFELINE 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 or TEXT 4202