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Young people fare better when connected to whanau

Young people fare better when connected to whanau and families

Young New Zealanders who feel connected to their whanau and families are more likely to speak up when life gets hard and seek help, says Children's Commissioner John Angus.

"Young people need to feel they are listened to and respected, especially within their families. It creates a safe zone for them where they can be more open about things happening in their lives -¬both positive and negative," he said.

This year's Youth Week focuses on the theme of Rangatahi Ora: Whanau Ora ¬ connecting young people and their whanau/families.

"This is a very timely theme. We've heard a lot in the past month about young people who, for whatever reason, have been involved in tragic events.

"As a society we need to make sure we're open to listening to young people so we can understand the issues they face.

"This creates a safe platform for young people to be able to have discussions about things like bullying or pressure to take part in risky activities.

"Members of my Young People¹s Reference Group, who advise me on all sorts of issues that affect young people, tell me that it is vital that young people's relationship with their families is strong," he said.

One of the members, Anaru Joseph (17) says it is important that families have healthy connections.

"I think it's great that Youth Week's theme is on healthy homes and families. From healthy homes come fresh minds who are ready and able to learn," he said.

Another member of YPRG, Ben Carpenter (17) thinks that whanau connections are an important part of young people feeling good about themselves and having confidence.

"Young people with supportive parents do much better in society than those that don't. When they're encouraged to go to school and take part in extra-curricular activities they feel better about themselves and increase their chances of success in the future," he said.

Youth Week runs from 22 ¬- 30 May. It is organised by the New Zealand Association for Adolescent Health and Development (NZAAHD) with the support of the Ministry of Youth Development.

Events for young people are taking place throughout the country More

information can be found at www.youthweek.co.nz <http://www.youthweek.co.nz>

The Children¹s Commissioner is currently recruiting for new Young People's Reference Group members. More information, including an application form,

can be found at www.occ.org.nz/yprg <http://www.occ.org.nz/yprg> .

ends

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