In the lead-up to Youth Week 2023, a Far North organisation is calling on local rangatahi (youth) to help shape the future of their community.
Kaitāia’s Building Safer Communities aims to tackle entrenched and complex social problems in the Far North.
As part of that mahi (work), the organisation is forming a youth advisory board to help empower the next generation of Te Hiku residents.
BSC youth navigator Hinemoa Tipene is leading the initiative and said she wanted young people to use the opportunity to ensure their voices were heard on projects relevant to their community.
“This is essentially a group that will inform our practice or actions, so for example, if we said a slide might be cool in the middle of town, they’ll be able to tell us if they agree or not,” Tipene said.
“They’ll also be provided with the right mentoring and the correct support in a genuine way.
“By that I mean we’re not just approaching random youth on the street and ticking a box to say we have consulted with them.”
Tipene said the framework of the advisory group was still being fine-tuned, but the opportunity would give young people a taste of what it’s like working on a governance board.
She said long term, the project may lead to other groups looking to create youth projects who could consult with the youth advisory board for their input.
“I imagine the rangatahi to be so well supported, they’ll be able to articulate their feelings and be able to describe what’s going on for them and use their voice really well,” Tipene said.
“This next generation is super-savvy and super-cool and I’ve been blown away by some of the things that they come out with, just really practical stuff that makes sense.”
Last month BSC announced it was setting up a youth space to be designed and inspired by local youth.
Manager Angela Phillips told the Age how it would be “built on resilience, wellbeing, community connectedness and self-identity”.
She added the new youth advisory board would help co-design the space so young people had a place to come and belong.
“We’re really excited to bring this to the community, which will provide activities tailor-made specifically for 12-to-24-year-olds,” she said.
Youth Week 2023 (May 15-21), run by youth peak body Ara Taiohi, is a nationwide festival of events organised by young New Zealanders to celebrate the talents, passion and success of local young people.
The initiative aims to amplify young people’s valuable contributions to their communities by supporting them to design, deliver and evaluate all aspects of the week.
To find out more, go to https://arataiohi.org.nz/event/youth-week-2023/
Anyone interested in getting involved with the Building Safer Communities Youth Advisory Board, contact Hinemoa Tipene on: firstname.lastname@example.org