Youth advisers pick their priority issues
The Youth Advisory Panel, which gives young people a voice in local government, has started its second term. Karina Abadia went to meet central area panel members.
Promoting sustainability, transport solutions and positive social behaviour are just a few of the important issues for under 25-year-olds, Youth Advisory Panel members say.
The panel’s role is to provide advice to the Auckland Council on issues which affect youth and was established by the Mayor in 2011. It’s made up of 21 people between the ages of 12 and 24 who have been selected by their peers. It started its second term on July 28.
Existing panel member Ginah Vakaheketaha-Nelisi, 20, represents the Maungakiekie-Tamaki area.
The Royal Oak resident got involved because she’s passionate about helping to empower young people.
‘‘I wanted to not only stand up for them but also stand up for myself and what I believed in.’’
She’s been working closely with Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board Youth Panel and chairman Jake Lamkum.
In the last term they helped organise several events to engage young people, including an event called 360MT with spoken word workshops and an annual planting event called Ko au Te Awa (I am the river).
It takes Innes over place in Glen Matariki and teaches participants about sustainability.
Tesree Appanna, 23, represents Orakei and joined the panel this term.
‘‘I believe being part of the Youth Advisory Panel is a chance to ensure that future decision-making includes youth and that their input isn’t overlooked.’’
The Orakei Youth Board has identified mental health, the environment, transport and employment as important issues for young people.
Isabella Lenihan-Ikin, 17, represents youth from Waitemata. The Grey Lynn resident is a Western Springs College year 13 student and says transport is the issue that excites her most.
‘‘The City Rail Link is something I’d love to see happen. I think we also really need more protected, designated cycleways.
‘‘Major issues facing the city are unemployment and transport. Young people need to play a key role in deciding what is done to improve the situation.’’
Young leaders: Auckland Council Youth Advisory Panel members Isabella Lenihan-Ikin and Ginah Vakaheketaha-Nelisi with Jake Lamkum, who is chairman of the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board Youth Panel.