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Youth Week 2020 - E Korero Ana Mātou. E Whakarongo Ana Koutou? We're Speaking. Are You Listening?

Aotearoa Youth Week 2020 is being celebrated, like never before - in our bubbles and online! We invite you to celebrate with us.

Youth Week is an annual festival of events where we as a nation are able to celebrate our young people, their strengths, talents and resilience. Many of the messages we hear about our young people focus on ‘what’s not right’. 

Youth Week is our opportunity to intentionally focus on and remind ourselves what is right with our young people. Traditionally Youth Week’s primary strategy is to support young people in our communities to run creative events for other young people. 

COVID-19 has made this impossible, and Youth Week (like the rest of New Zealand, and the world) has had to adapt. 

The essence of Youth Week is constant, but this year we are choosing to focus on how young people are leading in their own whānau and communities during this pandemic. 

This can be seen on larger scales (for example community led responses), but as (if not more) importantly on small scales. We love hearing about young people setting up and helping their parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents access fun whānau based online activities.

This year’s theme, chosen by young people, of we are speaking, are you listening has also needed to adapt. 2019 was a year where young people’s voices were amplified in a very public way, especially regarding climate change. 

As a generation our young people are very aware of our responsibilities to our planet, and came together to ensure this voice was heard. During rāhui young people’s voices are being heard in a different way. They are still speaking. 

Our theme is not just about young people this year, it also contains in it a wero, or challenge for people of all ages. How are we listening to our young people, as individuals, and as a generation? How do we respond to the voice of the one, and the voice of the many? Do we want to listen? Do we want to hear? Or do we want to tell our young people why what they are saying is wrong, without allowing them to unpack what they are thinking? This year’s theme, chosen by young people, is an invitation to conversation. We encourage people of all ages to make space for this.

As we move forward during these ‘unprecedented time’ the innovative and out of the box way of thinking that many young people bring is essential for us to consider. When we look back on this season in decades and centuries to come, how will we be judged? Will we be known as a generation who chose to listen and learn, and change what was normal to something better? Youth Week is a chance for us to start on this journey.

© Scoop Media

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