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Conference a chance for positive focus on youth

Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Minister of Youth Affairs

1 November 2006 Media Statement

Conference a chance for positive focus on youth

Hundreds of key players from New Zealand's youth development sector will come together today to discuss ways to work more closely together and promote positive engagement with young people.

Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta will deliver the keynote opening address at the Involve 2006 Conference, starting today at Lincoln University, near Christchurch. Around 500 people, including youth health and development providers, practitioners, clinicians, researchers, policy-makers, educators, youth workers, social workers, peer support workers and others are expected to attend.

"Involve is a fantastic opportunity for all those who work with young people and who are passionate about youth health and development to come together, share ideas, and discuss ways in which the government and the sector can work more effectively together to promote the best interests of young people," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"Given the increasing cultural diversity of our youth population, recognising and affirming this identity is a critical aspect to positive youth development. The conference presents an excellent opportunity to inform further thinking in this area."

The two-day conference will also feature a top line-up of overseas guest speakers, including Tom Wylie, CEO of the UK National Youth Agency; Deborah Christie, renowned international teacher, trainer and youth motivator, also from the UK; and Michelle Dagnino, Canadian author, speaker and youth advocate.

"The youth development sector provides an incredibly diverse and essential range of services and initiatives for young people, and is a key factor in positively influencing the lives of young New Zealanders. I look forward to hearing more over the course of the conference about how we can continue to help build the sector so that we can support our young people to be the best they can be."

Improving and promoting youth health, strengthening and supporting youth workers, and working collaboratively with and across the youth development sector were key areas the Labour-led government was focused on to improve the lives of New Zealand's young people, Nanaia Mahuta said.

"The conference theme is 'creativity, diversity and connection', and recognises the fact that the youth development sector is made up of an incredibly dedicated, passionate and talented mix of people, all of whom bring unique skills and experiences to their work with young people."

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