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We’re stronger together.

It’s the theme of this year’s Youth Week and we have certainly learned the truth of this statement over the past year with the challenges presented by Covid 19.

So, it is nice to take time out and really reflect on that message and what it means for our rangatahi. This week, Te Puna Ora o Mataatua kicked off our Youth Week celebrations launching our Ka Hao Te Rangatahi evenings.

We’ve been hosting the new initiative at our Tū Maia Rangatahi Hub  for the past couple of Fridays. The idea is that rangatahi can come and hang out, interact and, perhaps, talk about next steps in a fun and safe environment.

Our rangatahi hub provides an integrated wrap-around service for young people aged between 16 and 24. Applying a whānau ora approach, we work with our rangatahi to build customised plans to help progress their education, training or employment outcomes.

The goal is to support them to achieve independence and the plans help identify what that looks like to each rangatahi. Our rangatahi hub then team up with other services within our organisation and the community to help support the implementation of that plan.

At Te Puna Ora o Mataatua, we have a counselling service, medical centre, education, and a youth employment programme. We also offer a driving academy to help rangatahi get theri learners and restricted licences, youth employment programme, life skills support, nutrition advice and the Mana Tangata cultural course. We also have strong relationships with other organisations within the community and so we will work hard to support our rangatahi to achieve the goals they have set.

Once the plan is complete, our staff then help to place the rangatahi back into education, training or tertiary studies or find them employment opportunities.

This is how the whānau ora approach works in practice. And, we know that it works because we have had helped hundreds of rangatahi in the Mataatua rohe since Iwi and the Crown agreed to a shared Whānau Ora Outcomes Framework to guide the work to improve outcomes for whānau.

And that is exactly what we are trying to do at Te Puna Ora o Mataatua – help improve outcomes for our whānau within our rohe. For our team at the rangatahi hub, their part is ensuring our young people have strong foundations so that we can indeed be stronger together, for now and into the future.

But in order to help our rangatahi, we first need to be able to make contact with those young people who may need support to achieve their education, training and employment goals.

So, to kick off our Youth Week events, we decided to officially launch our Ka Hao Te Rangatahi programme. The launch included a barbecue, performances by the Lionyze band and Youth Leader Talei Bryant as a key speaker. The goal was to provide an inviting space for our rangatahi to come and hang out, talk, get to know each other and find the support they need.

We made many connections and next week we will back at the hub doing the same thing again.

From here, our Youth Week events include a Mother’s Day Brunch for 30 rangatahi and their mothers, a tik tok competition to encourage our young people to be creative and a series of Kaupapa Māori workshops. We organised this events to celebrate our youth – because we really are stronger together and they need to know that.

Find out more about our lineup here.

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