Tariana Turia: Te Kuiti Social Sector Youth Action Plan

Speech – New Zealand Government

As I was driving into town today I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to see a ‘Welcome to Te Kuiti’ sign based on the statement on the inside cover of the Te Kuiti Action Plan.Te Kuiti Youth Action Governance Group
Waitomo Cultural Centre

Hon Tariana Turia, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector
Friday 7 October 2011; 1pm

Official Launch of the Te Kuiti Social Sector Youth Action Plan

As I was driving into town today I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to see a ‘Welcome to Te Kuiti’ sign based on the statement on the inside cover of the Te Kuiti Action Plan.

Just imagine if every bus, every car, every motorbike, every truck that roared into town was greeted by the words; “Welcome to a vibrant, inclusive, unifed community that young people are proud to be part of and contribute to”.

It would put the world on notice: you are entering a community which takes us every opportunity to create positive outcomes for the youth and young people of Te Kuiti.

I want to acknowledge the Mayor Brian Hanna, MP Shane Ardern, Hilary Karaitiana (Social Sector Youth Services Manager), Jordan Bright (Youth speaker), ki a koe Barney Winikerei nau i whakatuwhera nga haerenga o te ra, kei te mihi.

And I recognise also the role of the Minister of State Services, Hon Tony Ryall, and the Minister of Social Development, Hon Paula Bennett, in the social sector trials of which Te Kuiti forms a part.

Today is our time to come together in our common resolve to ensure that all of the towns in your trial have the tools and support you need to make Te Kuiti the positive environment you want it to be.

It is fantastic to see so many of you here today – and in particular a very special group of people – the young people and their whanau who have been involved in the development of this plan.

You are leaders.

We often say, Ko nga Rangatahi nga rangatira mo apopo : Our youth today are our leaders tomorrow.

I want to say to us all, our leaders are already within us – they are here today – they have demonstrated their potential to shape tomorrow by the contribution they make today.

And we must all make the determination to look around us with new eyes; to be awake to the talents and the strengths these remarkable young people possess.

My greatest fear is that if we focus on all that is wrong – and some of these issues are outlined in the plan – truancy, offending, alcohol and drug issues and so on – that we lose sight of all that is right.

I was inspired by young Ngati Kahungunu winger, Corey Jane, when he was asked about some of the challenges they faced in the current Allblack squad. His response was my greatest challenge is to be the very best that I can be.

We need to take a leaf from his book and focus on all the opportunities we can create to ensure our youth lead the strategies and the solutions to the issues that affect them.

To do this we need to hear what they are saying to us and even more importantly listen. Then, we must all act together to achieve outcomes that are focussed on their solutions.

Part of the mission of this project is to “engage our youth and community through leadership and success using collective knowledge and skills”.

I have to say I have been really excited by the Computers in Homes programme – and so it’s great to see this is part of your programme of action to strengthen the link between home and school.

I have seen the impact this programme can have. I recently heard said from a young Maori man in Wellington, “it’s a coming together of cultures, whanau and technology”. I believe that technology and whānau coming together around technology can assist our communities to be better connected to the wider opportunities that exist and I’m all for that.

That young man also highlighted the importance of whanau as pivotal to success. We cannot create youth solutions in our communities if we do it in isolation of whanau and families. The outcomes we desire must support whanau too if we are looking for the longterm change that will make the difference.

Finally, I want to just refer to a comment made by Hilary Karaitiana who has been charged with the ultimate responsibility to use cross-agency resources to produce better outcomes for Te Kuiti youth.

I recently saw a video clip of Hilary speaking online. Her words inspired me as they highlighted a core strength in your local community and I wanted to share them with you today:

“I think working in rural communities is awesome. There is such a feeling of community here as opposed to the bigger centres. You know everybody and everybody knows you. We all want to work together to create healthy communities that we can all enjoy living in. It’s awesome.”

In my mind, success is 90% attitude and 10 percent everything else! The remarkable thing is we all have a choice every day as to the attitude we embrace for that day. Will we focus on the obstacles or will we plan for success?

I am reminded of a quote from the great civil rights leader, the late Dr Martin Luther King.

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well

It is a fantastic challenge we can each set ourselves – to be the greatest winger, the greatest parent, the greatest politician, the greatest student that ever lived.

I wish you all the best as you implement your plans over the coming 18 months I look forward to hearing about the accomplishments and achievements that are reached here in Te Kuiti – the greatest little community one could ever meet.

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.

ENDS

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