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Youth Maori Council Announced - a voice for our young people

The New Zealand Maori Council will move to build and empower a new generation of Rangatahi with the establishment of a Rangatahi New Zealand Maori Council. The intent is to provide a voice and platform for young Maori to be engaged and lead discussions about some of the big challenges of our time from climate change and suicide prevention to the economy and more. Executive Director of the Council, Matthew Tukaki, has said Council has heard the message from across the country from rangatahi and is acting:

“There is an insatiable appetite and demand from our young people to really get involved and engaged when it comes to their futures and in line with the Council’s belief that we need to throw open our doors and window of the whare we want to meet that demand.” Tukaki said

“In actual fact we have been working on this plan for more than eighteen months and all of us feel its important not to just to throw open the doors but also provide a real sense that they can utilize the platform of Council, our Act of Parliament and more to really put those ideas and korero into action.” Tukaki said

“Tane Cook, who is an Executive Member of the New Zealand Māori Council and National Taskforce Chairperson for Rangatahi (Youth) including Culture, Community and Te Reo Māori bought the topic to the table last year and has been doing an amazing job at getting the concept off the ground. Tane will be charged with leading the kaupapa forward and he’ll receive a huge amount of support from myself and Council to put the foundations in place.” Tukaki said

“Everywhere I go and every young person I talk to want to have their say and be heard – but often there are not many opportunities for that to happen. Giving Rangatahi a platform through the Council really can take them where they want to be – to be future shapers.” Tane Cook Said

“Also, its not lost on me, that our young people have played a big role in coming out on issues such as Ihumātao and Oranga Tamariki – many don’t know where to turn to when it comes to "what next moment" in terms of Government policy and I anticipate this forum will certainly do that." Cook Said

“This is also a chance for us to provide support and mentorship to our young people when it comes to where their careers may take them, I certainly see this is a chance to really support our rangatahai to grow and develop as well as pass on knowledge and contacts to them. That includes networking and relationships.” Tukaki said

What will the new initiative look like:

• Tikanga and Te Reo Māori will enthuse the development and implementation of the Rangatahi New Zealand Māori Council - Te Kaunihera Rangatahi Māori o Aotearoa.
• The Rangatahi New Zealand Māori Council would act within the current framework of the New Zealand Māori Council
• That the structure would first operate as a national initiative as a similar structure to the current Districts of the New Zealand Maori Council that were put in place
• That this would focus inclusion of our young people across each of the sixteen Districts and into the Māori Committee Structure
• That seats would be made available on each of the National Taskforces of the New Zealand Maori Council ranging from justice, law and corrections, education and training, employment and access to industry, environment and climate change, community, culture and Te Reo Māori.
• That the National Taskforce already established for Rangatahi would be the starting point and would be charged with shaping the new Rangatahi New Zealand Maori Council, developing hui around engagement and a workplan
• That support would be provided through funding applications and secretariat / administrative support
• That the New Zealand Māori Council would move to include our Rangatahi as observers to the National Executive hui, attend National Hui and be provided with opportunities to be engaged in conversations at the table as policy is shaped more generally
• That within the first twelve months of operation the Rangatahi voice would be specifically included into national social, economic and environmental policies of Council – and this would then be moved to an advocacy position / or those policy statements that Rangatahi develop and are specific to that population group could be adopted by Council for advocacy
• Importantly each of the young people involved would have opportunities to learn about governance and the structures of Māori representative organisations in a one-day workshop and, following that, they also have the opportunity to be mentored by a District Chair or a national executive member.

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