Mentoring and empowering local rangatahi is a vital part of helping develop Rotorua’s future leaders.
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick regularly meets with Ngahuia Hona-Paku as part of this year’s Tuia Rangatahi Leadership Programme and they discuss everything from current affairs to politics and future aspirations.
The Tuia programme is a long-term approach to develop the leadership skills of young Maori in communities throughout New Zealand. Rotorua Lakes Council has been part of the programme since its inception in 2011.
As part of the Tuia programme, rangatahi go to regular wānanga throughout the country and this weekend past and present Tuia participants from across New Zealand will be hosted in Rotorua.
The wānanga is focused on growing leadership skills and networks, but also encouraging participants to understand what they each stand for and what they want to achieve with their lives.
Mayor Chadwick says the programme is great for inspiring youth and helping them realise their potential. She will be attending this weekend’s wānanga and says it is a huge achievement for it to be hosted in Rotorua.
The desire to host a wānanga here was driven by past and present Tuia participants. They have worked very hard to put on this event and they are very proud to be hosting a wānanga in Rotorua.
These wānanga provide our rangatahi with great learnings and I am really looking forward to going along and see what our youth have achieved.
Mayor Chadwick says the Rotorua participants have flourished through Tuia, with Rotorua being cited as a successful chapter of the programme.
Mayors throughout New Zealand, who take part in the programme, select young Maori participants to mentor on a one-on-one basis and to encourage and enhance leadership skills.
The relationship developed through the Tuia programme provides both Mayor Chadwick and Ngahuia with the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into inter-generational issues, cultural values and experiences.
Selected rangatahi are expected to undertake and record a 100-hour community service project in their respective communities. This will provide them with an opportunity to share their experiences, practice new strategies and demonstrate leadership.
Former youth council member and current councillor Tania Tapsell says Tuia is a one of a kind programme that also connects people with culture and environment.
“This is great for Rotorua rangatahi as it provides them with the learning and development required for our next generation of leaders.
“Securing a wānanga in Rotorua is a great opportunity to promote the growth and development we have achieved alongside our community. This is significant because it allows us to highlight Rotorua's progress and the mutual benefits of an iwi partnership to the future leaders of New Zealand.”
Miss Tapsell says her top piece of advice for young people was to have confidence.
“Have confidence in your ability to make change and speak up, because your voice is needed. To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is a great accomplishment.”
Youth can apply for next year’s Tuia programme and Mayor Chadwick is encouraging local rangatahi to do so.
"We are not looking for the obvious leaders, but we know there are some people in our community who can achieve remarkable things, and we want to open the door for that person."
To apply to be part of the programme contact Rotorua Lakes Council on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Is actively involved in contributing to the wellbeing of their community at some level
- Is able to commit to being involved in this part-time programme for a minimum of 12 months
- Has support from others to participate in the programme (whanau/hapu/pakeke/employers/ community)
- Is open minded and willing to contribute to discussions and workshops
- Is well organized and have the ability to manage their time and commitments effectively
- Is innovative, self-managing and adaptable