Local Democracy Reporting

MARCUS ANSELM
marcus.anselm@age.co.nz

Cooperation and communication are the key skills young people can nurture through the Tuia programme, recent graduate Laura Bradley says.

Applications for the 2021 Tuia programme close on Friday December 11. Rangatahi [young Maori people] aged 18-25 across Wairarapa’s three districts can apply for next year’s intake.

At least one person from each of Masterton, Carterton, and South Wairarapa district would be selected. It involves local mayors and a rangatahi from each district interacting on a  one-to-one basis.

The relationship provides members and mentors the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into inter-generational issues, cultural values, and experiences. They would have about 100 hours – two per week – of community service commitments, five wananga [teaching and research opportunities], and other meetings.

The rangatahi then take forward their experience into their communities.

Bradley, 28, was the 2016 Masterton representative, and was mentored by Mayor Lyn Patterson for the year.

Tuia, which has run for a decade, reflects what was already happening at a community level, but was not celebrated.

“We’ve got a lot of young Maori people doing a lot great things already. Let’s celebrate that, support them, and grow them.

“The idea is not what I can get out of it, but what can I give through it. I think that is a really important twist of thought, especially at this time.

“But for Maori, we are always being viewed negatively. As in ‘what we are taking from the system’. Actually, this is what we’re giving to our communities.”

Bradley was selected after years of volunteer work in the Masterton community.

She now works at Masterton’s Ucol campus as a senior student success advisor, managing its Youth Guarantee scholarship programme, and supporting students with disabilities.

Weaving connections

Tuia means to weave in Te Reo Maori. Bradley said it represented connections between mentors, the youngsters, and their peers across the country.

“[You’re] getting to know each other.

“You’re learning about each other, not just the mayors teaching you.

“There’s lots of opportunities to grow in different spaces.

“You don’t have to be fluent in Te Reo Maori, you don’t need to know your whakapapa, it’s not about showing off how Maori you are. It’s about caring and giving back.”

She said connecting and listening were opportunities Tuia presented.

“Listening is a huge skill. You are listening all through the wananga. And learning to listen, not just respond.”

Mayor backs scheme

Patterson agreed that the opportunities to connect were a major gift the programme offered.

“It’s about establishing networks within their community and across New Zealand with the wananga they attend,” she said.

“It’s a good way for our rangatahi to meet, and share their stories with others, and build on that. I’m hugely supportive of it.”

– NZLDR

Apply online now through the district council websites, until December 11.



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