Rangatahi Voices: Youth Week 2022

23 May 2022
Cazna

From the 7th to the 15th of May, Aotearoa celebrated Youth Week, which embraces all things rangatahi. Ara Taiohi, the peak body for Youth Development set the theme for Youth Week 2022 as "Our voices matter, and we deserve to be heard: Taringa Whakarongo! Ki Te Reo o Ngā Taiohi."

To support this theme, Nuku Ora handed the spotlight of our Facebook page to incredible rangatahi from across Pōneke Wellington, giving them the opportunity to have their voices heard.

This showcase was arranged by Jazz Scott, Nuku Ora’s newly appointed Community Development Lead, who shared her thoughts about the importance of youth week “This week is all about celebrating young people. So let’s celebrate our rangatahi who are not only our leaders of tomorrow but also leaders of today! With the theme of Our voices matter, and we deserve to be heard: Taringa Whakarongo! Ki Te Reo o Ngā Taiohi, we encourage you to get out there and start creating spaces for rangatahi to belong and be heard. Let’s value the opinions and input of our awesome rangatahi and create some change!

Check out the incredible rangatahi who shared their voice with us throughout youth week:

Cazna, age 16

How do you enjoy being physically active? 
“I love it. It's a way of working out my frustration and getting fit at the same time, and whilst I'm at it I see the improvement in my physical capability. This is motivation for me to stay active. I also heard it’s great for mental health.

What does it mean to you to have your voice heard? 
“To be heard matters a lot especially as a Polynesian. We're known to bottle our emotions which is never ideal for our head space. It is the age to be easily forgotten and not taken seriously but it's also the age we make mistakes and learn from them to help shape the adults we'll become.

Why is it important for rangatahi/youth to have a voice? 
“It's very important to be heard as a rangatahi, to understand what we are going through. It's an access key to addressing and coping with our emotions. We understand our lives as teenagers a lot more than the adults would, so hearing us out will allow you adults to see and understand our world from our lenses. 

Sure, adults know and have been in our shoes many moons before, but we have evolved and life they once knew is not the same as the life we live now. We will grow to be better leaders, better communicators and will inspire the young ones. I'm often told clear communication is key.

Soren, age 12 

How do you enjoy being physically active?
“I like to play basketball and hockey. I play with my friends, and I am part of a running club. I am a sports ambassador at school so enjoy others been active too. One time we put out a lot of PE equipment, turned on some music and the students just played.

What does it mean to you to have your voice heard? 
“It shows respect and that others care about what you have to say.”  

Why is it important for rangatahi/youth to have a voice? 
“It is important because it gives us the opportunity to share what we are thinking and may want. It also shows that others care about what we think.

Tristan, age 14 

How do you enjoy being physically active?  
“I like to play sport and play with friends.” 

What does it mean to you to have your voice heard? 
“It's important to hear what others have to say. For example, I am currently on the Boarders Committee so it's a privilege to be a voice for others.

Why is it important for rangatahi/youth to have a voice? 
“It is important to hear young people's voices because they know what is best for them. Sometimes adults make decisions on how it was when they were young, well times have changed, and it is very different to what it used to be.

Alicia, age 16 

“How do you enjoy being physically active?
Dancing, playing football, cardio, and strength training, walks and runs in the neighbourhood and surrounding hills 

What does it mean to you to have your voice heard?
It is important to have my voice heard because I enjoy it more if I have decided what I’m doing. We discuss what things are coming up and decide together what is manageable.

Why is it important for rangatahi/youth to have a voice?
"It is important for rangatahi to have a voice because they are more likely to keep doing the activity if they have had input into it. Older people don’t always understand what we like to do.”

Bailey, age 15 

How do you enjoy being physically active? 
“Rugby and Netball are two sports I enjoy playing. Both sports require me to be fit and I feel that being fit helps me to contribute more on the field or on court and allows me to play at a higher level without fatiguing as quickly. Six months ago, I had ACL surgery. I have been working hard on my rehab which hasn’t been easy but remaining physically active with rehab in the gym has played a big part in my overall health and wellbeing. Getting the clearance to start running again was such an awesome feeling and I can’t wait to get back into playing sport later in the year.

What does it mean to you to have your voice heard? 
“I believe players having their own voice allows them to have an input into how things are done at things like training and helps build a better team culture. Having your voice heard also gives you the confidence to speak up as well as developing your leadership skills.

Why is it important for Rangatahi/Youth to have a voice? 
“I think it is important for rangatahi/youth to have a voice as it means we are able to have input into the things we enjoy doing (or don’t). I think having a voice allows us to be able to express ourselves easier and ask for help when we need it. Giving rangatahi/youth a voice also empowers us and makes us feel more valued.

Lili, age 18 

How do you enjoy being physically active?
“I enjoy playing netball; I love being in a team environment. Being physically active with others makes it a lot more enjoyable. I also love being active in nature. I really enjoy going on bush walks and for swims at the beach.”

What does it mean to you to have your voice heard?
“For people to properly listen and respect what I have to say. For people to know that my opinion is valid.”

Why is it important for rangatahi/youth to have a voice?
“We are basically the future of this world, so what we have to say matters and is valid. It's also important to have voices from all generations heard so that we have a wider understanding of everyone’s needs.”

Ben, age 14 

How do you enjoy being physically active?
“Playing different sports with mates; both in teams and in the backyard or down at the local park.”

What does it mean to you to have your voice heard?
“It's really important for my parents to understand what I want to do and why. Don’t feel pressured to play in serious teams all the time.”

Why is it important for rangatahi/youth to have a voice?
“We are the ones doing it so we should be able to decide what we do.”