Rotorua's future leaders have got together to work on their leadership skills and provide feedback on youth issues for Rotorua Lakes Council.

The Future Leaders Forum, designed and organised by the Rotorua Youth Voice Organising Committee, chose 60 young people between the ages of 14 and 24 for the two-day forum, which finished yesterday.

Participants had the opportunity to chair committees, participate in debates, and gave speeches on important youth issues facing Rotorua.

Rotorua Lakes High student Rebecca Jenkin, 17, said she had learnt a lot in the forum.


"It's something that is a way of getting across your voice in the community and we can actually see our voices being heard. We had learnt lots of skills already from just being here one day."

She said the group was fleshing out the issues faced by youth in Rotorua. "We just had a general debate and a lot of them were talking about mental health issues, and also youth not having stuff to do around town."

Rotorua Youth Voice co-ordinator Ben Hingston, who is completing his Masters in Politics at the University of Auckland, said the group was also discussing ways to get other young people engaged and interested in politics.

"We are also looking at lowering the voting age to 16 in local government elections. This brings an increased participation in politics, and there are signs that youth vote turnout is increased if voters participate from a younger age."

Mr Hingston said the group also went through the council's creative strategy.

Councillor Tania Tapsell, who leads the Rotorua Youth Voice and council's youth portfolio, said the forum had gone well. "It has been really amazing, the council staff have been amazed at the energy and ideas that have come out."