Kaupapa rangatahi - Youth activities


Prompted by submissions from rangatahi in Western Heights, Te Koutu and Fordlands in 2009, Council allocated funding to develop skate parks and youth friendly spaces in some of the district's parks and reserves.  A lack of things to do and places to go was the key message they delivered in response to submissions about the Council's 10-year-plan (2009 - 2019).  Since then, there has been a culture shift in regards to the use of parks.


  • Parks were underutilised and thought by main to be unsafe places at night


  • Council has been working with a number of communities to develop youth-friendly areas which are ideal for family activities
  • These include improvements at reserves in areas such as Te Koutu, Eastern suburbs, Western Heights and Fordlands  

Come join the fun

Youth activities on Council reserves have been develop thanks to advice from rangatahi who took part in engagement hui in 2009.  The aim of engagement was to look at how young people could become more active via free regular informal sports and recreational activities.  

Particularly, the initial objective was to enhance efforts in four communities; Fordlands, Western Heights, Te Koutu and Eastern suburbs.

What has been created?

FreeParking is a programme which supports young people aged 12 - 20 to become more active via free regular information sports and recreational activities on Council reserves.  The programme is run in areas such as Te Koutu, Ngongotahā, Fordland, Western Heights and Eastside and aims to reduce barriers such as cost and transportation wh ich prevent some taiohi (young people) from participating in outdoor activities.  The project was a joint Rotorua Lakes Council and community initiative, which is now run by community groups.  

Some key objectives of the programme are to:

  • Introduce leadership programmes for rangatahi to build confidence, capacility and a positive change
  • Build community capability
  • Develop pathways for young people wanting to progress to school or club level sports

Youth Spaces Plus is also a youth driven activity programme for taiohi between 12 - 20 years old and is an extension of the FreeParking initiative delivered by communities. 

It aims to develop leaders by using a positive measures and by identifying the strengths of participants and building from there.  

The main objectives of Youth Spaces Plus are:

  • Getting rangatahi engaged in education and employment 
    • Creating homework study hubs led by rangatahi 
    • Career pathway planning both in and outside of the school environment
    • Life skills education 
  • Young leaders development 
    • Supporting them to be leaders including leading activities and making decisions 
    • Forming rangatahi committees as well as becoming role models to other young people and leading societal change
  • Youth-led events
    • Developing event leadership to ensure events are fresh and innovative
  • Tuakana-teina approach (Being a mentor and being mentored)
    • A range of mentoring opportunities
      • Young mums spending time with kuia (grandmothers)
      • Study groups
      • Fitness groups
      • Father and son
      • Internships

The programmes are being led by Western Heights Community Association, Mokoia Community Association, Te Papa Tākaro o Te Arawa and Ko te Tuara Tōtara o Fordlands.

Funding / Investment
Council allocated $600,000 to develop five youth skate parks and rangatahi friendly spaces in some of the districts parks and reserves.  While additional funding has also been provided by Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust ($25,000) and Bay Trust (which contributed $30,000) towards FreeParking.

Page reviewed: 23 Jan 2018 1:43pm