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Rubbish turns kids’ lives around

Media Release

26 February 2014

Rubbish turns kids’ lives around

Who would think that handling rubbish would give youth the chance to do something positive with their lives?

A group of South Taranaki youth are putting their hands up to manage the rubbish at WOMAD this year in a bid to step up and make a difference to their lives.

Lola Katene, who will lead the team of 10 teenagers as part of the Shell NZ Zero Waste project at WOMAD, says the young people are keen to work and see another side of life that wouldn’t normally be open to them.

“This offers them a whole new learning opportunity. Not only are they working, which is positive, they are learning how to get on as a team. These are kids that normally wouldn’t fit together as a group, they are not necessarily friends, not all the same age, so they have to learn to work together, and live together,” she said.

The group will camp out alongside the festival during their three-day work stint and Katene, along with three other adult supervisors, hopes to teach them much more than sorting rubbish and environmental issues.

“They will gain a lot. It’s about being positive, working for what they want, not expecting it free or missing out completely. It’s about teaching them to try hard and always try to succeed, to give everything a go in life – and importantly, that they can do it.”

As well as helping festival goers sort any rubbish into separate waste recycling bins, the volunteer team will also clear rubbish bins and help to ensure the recycling runs smoothly with no overflows of waste occurring.

“We want them to learn new experiences in a positive way and bring those experiences home. They are going to see a lot.”

Katene is involved in the Manaia-based youth intervention group known as Ngaruahine Iwi Matua Whangai. It is a voluntary organisation, funded on community grants and sponsorship from Origin Energy. In operation for over 35 years, it aims to provide programmes that encourage families and youth to head in a positive direction and have positive interaction with others. It also focuses on family values and to engage in activities with a range of communities. The programmes are planned in three categories – youth intervention, youth holiday and whanau support and include activities such as marae wananga, whanau and IronMaori triathlons, community pot luck dinners sports days, rangatahi talent quest and more.

“This is more than just a free ticket to WOMAD for these kids. They are going to work for that ticket. Many of these kids would not be able to afford to go to WOMAD, so to work for it, it’s a good thing, it’s an experience and it’s positive.”


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