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Speech to Tairawhiti Youth Workers Council

Hon Parekura Horomia
26 April 2001 Speech

Speech to Tairawhiti Youth Workers Council

"Ka Pu Te Ruha, Ka Hao te Rangatahi".

I want to congratulate for the work that you do with Rangatahi. We all know that people are our greatest resource, but that our rangatahi are the leaders of the future.

One of the things I am always mindful of is the age pyramid of the Maori population. The 1996 census showed that the average age of Maori was 22 years, compared to 36 years for non-Maori. At that time 42% of Maori were aged 17 years and under.

I want to urge you to consider making submissions towards developing the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa. The Minister of Youth Affairs Laila Harré launched the consultation process for the strategy on Tuesday (24 April) and people have two months to respond.

I want to encourage you to have a say because it's about developing a collective vision on how we, everyone in New Zealand, can better support young people (anyone aged 12 to 25).

This strategy must be more than what old people think is good for rangatahi. Our young people are dynamic and creative and full of energy but many lose that spark along the way.

Positive youth development is about building resilience, giving rangatahi the skills and information they need to make healthy choices.

As adults and decision makers we need to be supporting our young people and making sure they have every opportunity to be part of and contribute to their whanau, hapu, iwi or any community that they are part of. They should participate in decisions that affect them.

The Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa strategy will become a framework for goals and actions that everyone can use to make sure we are working towards a common end, and achieve the best possible results for rangatahi.


The strategy has six draft goals. They are:

1. Get all sectors of government to understand and use a youth development approach in their work
2. Increased participation of young women and men in decision making
3. Provide a clear and coordinated approach to youth development programmes and activities
4. Help adults understand and support young people better
5. Support rangatahi (young Maori) development in the best possible way
6. Support young Pacific peoples' development in the best possible way

A resource, Helping the Government get it Right, has also been developed to encourage young people to have their say. I have booklets here for you to consider as well. And of course you can check out the website www.youthaffairs.govt.nz.

Your opinion is important because you are at the grass roots. You know the problems and can suggest practical and real solutions. We need people like you doing the work on the ground, supported NOT hindered by government policies, processes and procedures.

The voice of Maori must be heard at all levels. You at your level. Me at a Ministerial level. We need to be pushing for Maori solutions to be incorporated in all strategies.

It's a slow and sometimes hard process but we can't give up. To do so would be to give up on the future of our rangatahi and we can't do that.

So don't forget, submissions on the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa close on June 15.

Kia kaha koutou. Nga manaakitanga o te runga rawa ki a koutou. Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

ENDS

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