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Sep 15

Positive Youth Development on tour: Ara Taiohi hits the road

Anya reflects on great connections and policy engagement

Ara Taiohi Ngā Kete o te Wānanga

Kia ora whānau

Since starting in this job I’ve been a bit of a human pinball- ricocheting around the motu to take the temperature of the youth sector! We’ve had the pleasure of lots of lovely visitors at Ara Taiohi who are keen to come and hear about our work and our future direction. In addition, I’ve gotten out and about visiting and talking with Ara Taiohi people doing the mahi with our awesome young people!

Some of the highlights of my Auckland visits include a completely inspiring couple of meetings with our beautiful Rainbow Youth family. If you haven’t checked out their awesome InsideOut resource yet, you need to!

I’d like to express gratitude to Sue Bagshaw, John Harrington, Penny Prescott, Rachel Hawthorne, Hannah Dunlop’s for sharing their knowledge with me in my first few weeks at Ara Taiohi! It’s been inspirational to check out all the ways that positive youth development is being brought to life in your exciting regenerating city! The “Strengthening the Youth Sector” project has produced some amazing learning, and I encourage you all to check out the amazing Christchurch Youth Council’s kaupapa.

Shoutouts too to my friends from Te Whanganui a Tara, especially the Wellington Youth Work Network, Journey, Terewai, Richard, Simon, Julie and Ngahuia, Chloe. I’ve had the pleasure of morning tea with the good people at BGI, Kirsten and her team at Evolve, and my visit to Kapiti Youth Support was energising and inspiring. Jane Zintl’s ethical journey with a bunch of champions up in Auckland marked an acceleration on our pathway to professionalisation, and we’re looking forward to offering the next one soon a bit further down the motu.

We’ve also been talking to our friends in government a great deal. Ara Taiohi have submitted to Statistics NZ about Census 2018 about the importance of getting good data on our young people in Aotearoa. I’ve been talking with the Ministry of Education about what positive youth development looks like in the context of schools and learning. Finally, we’ve presented at the Ministry of Health about our research into the support available to young people across the country, and are in discussion with them about the next phase of the suicide prevention plan.

All across the sector we are working in support of  the young people in our community - it’s hard work but the most important work in the world. This sector deserves to have a highly effective, responsive and vocal peak body advocating for you all on the issues facing young people, and the people working with them.