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National Conference Takes a Youthful Look

22 September 2006

National Conference Takes a Youthful Look

More than 160 local government workers and young people from around the country are gathering in New Plymouth next week to examine how to meaningfully engage with youths.

The Youth in Local Government Conference is bringing speakers from the business, sports and education sectors who have achieved nationally and internationally in their fields, to talk about how local government and youths can work well together.

Bry Kopu, the conference’s national convenor and Manager Community Development at New Plymouth District Council, says councils throughout the country face the challenge of bringing young people into their organisations in a meaningful way.

“It’s important that councils embrace youths and their talents and viewpoints, because they are an important part of our communities,” says Ms Kopu.

“They make positive contributions to their towns and cities now, and if we can tap into their enthusiasm then young people will be able to bring even greater benefits to their communities.

“This conference is a chance for people to share their ideas and best practice initiatives, and to gain an insight into youth culture so that individuals and organisations can best serve our young people.”

A key part of the conference involves separate workshop programmes for the youth delegates and the older delegates. “The older delegates will receive information on how to work well with young people, while the youth delegates will have information on how to successfully represent youth within local government,” says Ms Kopu.

The conference will also include the results of the Youth in Local Government Awards on Monday (25 SEPTEMBER) evening at Puke Ariki.

The conference will be held on Monday and Tuesday (25 AND 26 SEPTEMBER) next week in the Plymouth International Hotel and the council’s Civic Centre.


KEYNOTE SPEAKERS


Marcus Akuhata-Brown
(Speaking 11am-11.25am on Monday 25 September)

Marcus grew up on the East Coast. His father is Ngati Porou (Tuwhakairiora) from Te Araroa on the East Cape and his mother has English and Welsh ancestry. A qualified teacher and gifted communicator, Marcus has led a number of innovative alternative education programmes addressing the learning needs of youth at risk and young offenders.

Since 1996 Marcus has travelled all over the world as both a national and international representative and delegate. Marcus was a director on the international board of CIVICUS* as well as being head of the Commonwealth Youth Caucus – an organisation dedicated in increasing young people’s participation in social and economic development.

Marcus founded Tukaha Global Consultancy in 2000 and currently divides his time between speaking and consultancy work, land development in Te Araroa and personal studies through Te Wananga o Raukawa.

* CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is an international alliance that works to strengthen citizen action and civil society throughout the world, especially in areas where participatory democracy and citizens’ freedom of association are threatened. (http://www.civicus.org/new/default.asp?skip2=yes)

Norm Hewitt
(Speaking 11.25am-12.20pm on Monday 25 September)

Wendy Foster
(Speaking 4.20pm-4.40pm on Monday 25 September)
Manager of the Outside the Square Youth Enterprise Initiative at the Canterbury Development Corporation. Wendy has worked in the youth enterprise area at secondary and tertiary levels in the US, Australia and the United Kingdom. Wendy settled in Christchurch in 2004 with her Kiwi husband.

Keisha-Dean Soffe
(Speaking 9am-10am on Tuesday 26 September)

Mark McCrindle
(Speaking 10.05am-11.15am on Tuesday 26 September)
Trained as a psychologist, Mark is the director of the research agency McCrindle Research Pty Ltd, which specialists in social and generational studies across the Asia Pacific. His research into the emerging global generations is now recognised internationally.

Mark is a social researcher, and organisations commission Mark to conduct research and then speak or consult with them to help them better understand and engage with the ever-changing generations.

Minister for Youth Affairs and Associate Minister for Local Government Nanaia Mahuta
(Speaking 2pm-2.30pm on Tuesday 26 September)

ENDS


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