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Catalysts to change young lives in Waitakere

Catalysts to change young lives underway at Waitakere

“Connectors” and “catalysts” are networking to increase Waitakere’s community ownership and capacity to address the health issues of at-risk youth.

The newly-formed CAYAD (Community Action on Youth and Drugs) team is gathering strength to help change young lives affected by alcohol and drugs.

“We’re been busy doing a scoping exercise and developing relationships with community groups. Now we’re putting our hands up and saying ‘we’re here’,” says Project Leader Tina Meharry.

Waitakere’s CAYAD programme is part of a nationwide Ministry of Health funded initiative to improve the health and well-being of youth by reducing methamphetamine, cannabis and other drug related harm.

The CAYAD team has already brought anti-drug campaigner ex Eagles singer Joe Walsh to Hoani Waititi Marae. CAYAD has also contracted Hoani Waititi Marae to provide its Methamphetamine Education Programme to communities in West Auckland.

“There are so many great groups, with lots of resources. Networking between groups will help to use those resources more effectively,” says Ms Meharry.

The team’s overall objectives include promoting positive whänau responses, reducing the supply of drugs to young people, developing local capacity to support young people and working in partnership with a range of community stakeholders.

The CAYAD team are taking a multi-levelled approach to developing links and co ordinate existing services.

“We are aiming to promote consistency, creativity and collaboration to achieve the best possible results for young people and their families,” says Ms Meharry.

Waitakere’s CAYAD steering group consists of Councillor Ewen Gilmour, Hoani Waititi Marae, Te Whanau O Waiparera, CADS West, Altered High, Pasifika Healthcare, Safe Waitakere Alcohol Project and Crime Preventon Project, Waitakere Police, Alternative Education, WCC Leisure Services.


In April 2004, around 200 delegates from Waitakere helping agencies discussed strategies to deal with increasing problems of drug misuse among youth.

They identified that more intense networking is needed between helping agencies to change the lives of young people in Waitakere City.

The new team of Tina Meharry, Jacquilin Tuatara and Colin Nathan is a direct result of the Summit’s key findings that ‘catalysts’ and ‘connectors’ are needed to attract additional resources and funding to support local providers and facilitate networks.

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