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Positive outcomes emerge at Motueka Youth Summit

May 27th, 2015
[by David Armstrong]

A new Facebook site to promote and coordinate creative youth activities in Motueka was one of the positive and tangible outcomes of the Youth Summit held on Monday.

The meeting, the final public event of the Motueka 2030 consultation programme that has run throughout May, was held at the Motueka Top 10 Holiday Park conference centre.

Fifty people attended and joined in the discussions. About 20 of them would be considered as youthful people and most of the remainder were involved or interested in some way or another in community youth work of one sort or another, generally unpaid.

The MC for the evening was Brent Maru, who posed questions to the panel and then invited anyone from the audience to add their comments and "vote" using coloured plastic plates.

The panel (pictured above) consisted of youth leaders Paul Johnson, Carl Chapman and Stephen Evans and young people Jonty Comins, Kora Appleton, Nathan Peacock and Alok D'Hondt.

The four questions Brent posed and attendees discussed were:
1. Do youths living in Auckland have more opportunities than those living in Motueka?
2. Are you as a teenager heard and listen to in Motueka?
3. To get a job paying greater than $20 per hour, do I have to leave Motueka?
4. Does Motueka have a youth-at-risk issue?

You can read a detailed report of the comments made during discussion by downloading this document.

The second half of the evening comprised three break-out groups led by Paul, Carl and Stephen, each focusing on the areas of youth engagement that they were passionate about. Attendees chose which of the groups to work in. (Stephen's group pictured at the end of this article.)

The discussions ran for about three quarters of an hour, followed by a brief report from each group of what they found.

Brent and the other leaders continually stressed the need for some sort of action or result to come out of the Summit, so it would not be just another talkfest.

They also insisted that whatever actions arose, they had to be youth-led (though with mentoring or help from some of the willing adults).

The first action chosen was to set up a Facebook site called "Motueka Creative Spaces", aiming to start it on Saturday, and to use it to create and promote its first event, to take place on Saturday week.

Some of the activity ideas that young people could create included live music with perhaps a weekly open mike night, events at the Sunday market, use of Decks Reserve possibly with a temporary stage, an egg and spoon race using kiwifruit as an annual event, visual art and chalk graffiti, and events around the Chinese New Year or Matariki.

The second action chosen centred on youth mentoring. The young people agreed to create a list of activities or skills which young people would like to be mentored in, and resources that may already be in Motueka to help, including older people who would happily be sponsoring mentors.

They would also think about finding a place where mentoring could be done, a sort of hub for youth information and connection. This would not necessarily have to be a building for that purpose, but would use existing spaces such as at the high school. Eventually a purpose-built space could be created, but it is not needed initially to get such a scheme going.

All present at the youth summit agreed that throughout the evening the young people who were present spoke eloquently and fearlessly about exactly what they thought, without being put off by any adults who they may have felt were trying to guide or manage them.


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