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Wahine Regional Councillors Mentor Two Waikato Rangatahi

Two rangatahi (young people) have been chosen to be mentored by wahine Waikato regional councillors as part of the national Tuia leadership programme.

Hiko Sam-Turner and Ana Kirk will be mentored by councillors Tipa Mahuta and Jennifer Nickel.

Mr Sam-Turner, of Waikato, Maniapoto, Korokī-Kahukura and Tūhoe iwi, said he’s excited for the opportunity to observe and learn from esteemed community leaders.

“I feel privileged to be a part of this kaupapa and look forward to meeting and connecting with our councillors as well as rangatahi from across Aotearoa who have the same intentions of contributing and giving back to the community.”

The 24-year-old is actively involved with his marae, Taupiri, in various community projects and hopes to one day develop a Māori language strategy that focuses on providing a safe space for people to learn te reo Māori.

“Rangatahi have the ability to make a positive impact in the community and with Tuia, I hope to gain new skills and strategies that I can apply to realise this for my whānau, marae and the community of Taupiri and beyond.”

Ana Kirk, of Ngāti Wairere, hopes to build on her networking and leadership skills through the programme, as well as develop the confidence to initiate solutions for Māori. “A lot of the time I have a drive to do things but it’s the how that can sometimes slow things down. I want to gain the practical skills and tools that will bring those dreams into realisation.”

She recognised that Tuia is about the reciprocity of knowledge, learning from other people and their experiences. “I’m big on rangatahi involvement in developing solutions for themselves.”

The 23-year-old, who’s a member of her Hukanui marae committee, is keen to establish and be part of a support system for other rangatahi. “It can be an isolating experience for some who see an opportunity to make change, so knowing there are others out there that you can lean on and tautoko (support) as well is important.”

“Te ao Māori values tikanga at the forefront. I want others to know these are the taonga that will bring us into the future, and that our knowledge is valid and needed. We are capable of developing the solutions to address our own raru (problems),” she said.

Ngā Hau E Wha Māori constituency councillor Tipa Mahuta said she was really excited to be working with Jennifer Nickel to provide mentoring support.

“It’s our council’s fourth year of being involved in this programme, and I’m confident in the young leaders we're preparing in the Waikato. I’m especially looking forward to Hiko and Ana doing great work in their communities of Taupiri and Hukanui.”

For first term Hamilton constituency councillor Jennifer Nickel, the programme provides training for mentors as well, “which is just another way it supports rangatahi”.

“I found it very enlightening speaking with alumni and got the sense this is a unique programme that supports the whole person to transform into their style of leadership. I am looking forward to supporting this aim in every way I can,” she said.

The Tuia Programme is a long-term, intergenerational approach to develop and enhance the way rangatahi Māori contribute to communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

For Tuia participants, it involves attending five leadership wānanga, having regular catch ups with councillors and contributing a minimum of 100 hours towards a community project or initiative.

To find out more, see waikatoregion.govt.nz/tuia-programme.

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