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Youth Week 2021 – We're Stronger Together

Youth Week 2021 creates intentional space for young people to lead and respond to their own wellbeing and that of their whānau and communities. This contrasts the recent negative focus on young people as ‘flouters’ of COVID guidelines during the recent Level 3 lockdown in Auckland.

Ara Taiohi (the peak body for youth development) is the kaitiaki of Youth Week, an annual festival of events where we as a nation are able to celebrate our young people, their strengths, talents and resilience.

"Traditionally Youth Week’s primary strategy is to support young people in our communities to run creative events for and with other young people", says Shannan Wong, Director of Youth Week. "2021 provides the opportunity for young people and youth sector organisations to take the lead in planning events with pivoting abilities to align with government COVID expectations".

This year’s theme, chosen by young people, reflects a commitment to the wellbeing of all of Aotearoa, and the important role young people play in this. In collaboration from CCS Disability Action and Deaf Aotearoa the theme reflects the commitment to ensure that all young people are able to engage with Youth Week.

This week, Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Minister for Youth announced her support to fund Youth Week events, supported by the Ministry of Youth Development and Sport NZ. This fund opened on March 1 and closes on Tuesday 30 March and can be accessed online (reference below). Minister Radhakrishnan stated that "Youth Week is an opportunity for all of us to recognise, celebrate and truly value young people across the motu."

"Early indications and predictions are that young people are disproportionately affected by the effects of COVID-19, particularly in the areas of wellbeing and employability," says CEO of Ara Taiohi, Jane Zintl. "Youth workers and the wider youth development sector are a vital part of the ecosystem that supports young people of Aotearoa to thrive. As kaitaiki of Youth Week, we are very pleased to be providing young people and the youth sector the opportunity to be creative, embrace whai wāhitanga and ultimately to have fun."

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