Waikato District Council celebrates youth engagement programme

01 December 2017
left to right Mayor Allan Sanson, youth reps Azabeth Dobby (Meremere), Cory Newport (Nga) Phoebe Comins (H), Logan Cotter (H), Wirihana Eriepa (Nga)
About 40 guests including youth representatives on Waikato District Council community boards, their mentors, and the groups they lead, attended an end-of-year celebration of the Council’s youth engagement programme at the Council chambers this week (Wednesday 29 November).

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson said, “We’re proud of what our youth have achieved this year and we hope the experience will encourage them to continue to pursue their own projects and ideas, and to continue to work with their local community boards and committees to get things done for youth in our district.”

Nine youth action groups have been set up in the district with representation on their local community board or committee as a result of the Council’s strategy to engage with the district’s youth.  They are in Onewhero, Huntly, Ngaruawahia, Tuakau, Te Kauwhata, Raglan, Taupiri, Tamahere and Meremere. 

Most of the groups were set up as a result of a Council ‘Govern Up’ challenge earlier this year.

With a $10,000 grant secured from the Ministry of Social Development, the ‘Govern Up’ programme challenged young people around the district to grow their leadership and governance skills by organising community-based events or projects.  Each group that entered the programme was given a share of the grant to assist them.

Through the ‘Govern Up’ programme about 100 young people have gained leadership experience in organising events involving nearly 600 other youth in the district including a fruit tree giveaway in Onewhero, a Health Expo in Ngaruawahia, a community planting in Taupiri, a Wacky Hair Disco in Te Kauwhata, and a ‘Creative-Con’ in Huntly.  

Many of the youth have built on that experience to move onto other group or individual projects.

Three members of the Onewhero-Tuakau  and Te Kauwhata youth action groups applied for and won scholarships from The New Zealand China Friendship Society to travel to China this year to retrace the footsteps of New Zealand author and poet, Rewi Alley.  

A Waikato District youth award winner from a previous year who was then elected to the Taupiri Community Board, Sharnay Ormsby Cocup, this year went on to win a national Women of Influence Young Leader award for her work.

If you would like to join a youth action group in your area, contact Shannon Kelly on 027 405 6450. 

ends

Photo (from left): Mayor Allan Sanson, with youth representatives Azabeth Dobby (Meremere), Cory Newport (Ngaruawahia), Phoebe Comins (Huntly), Logan Cotter (Huntly), and Wirihana Eriepa (Ngaruawahia).