Health services available to Pacific Island youth were in the spotlight alongside some big name performers at Te Rauparaha Arena last week.
Hundreds of young people attended the inaugural Strong Pacific Youth expo, themed ‘‘Access Today for a Better Tomorrow’’, to learn about health services available to them in the community, and to catch a glimpse of celebrities.
R’n’B star Scribe was signing autographs and posing with fans for photographs, and singer Aradhna took the stage alongside performances by Porirua’s own Toneyo, Greer Samuel and R’n’B group Justuce, while Praiz Studios dance troupe kept the stage jumping.
Participants from a range of secondary schools in the area visited stalls manned by health care providers to tick off boxes on an entry form for prize draws.
The event was organised because health providers in the area have reported poor buy-in from Pacific Island youth, Compass Primary Health Care Network event coordinator Paul Marshall said.
‘‘What we are trying to do is connect our youth services, especially health and education specifically, with our Pacific kids to improve their access and awareness to these services.
‘‘We want the kids to be comfortable to access the services and to see an increase in uptake for the kids – they didn’t know that some of these services were available to them.’’
Mr Marshall said the event went well with several hundred young people attending, and organisers hoped to see that reflected in young people using their services.
Healthy eating: Wellington High School students Jalisa Aiono, 17 (left), and Henry Tukaka, 14, play with a fat machine and fake food servings at the Strong Pacific Youth expo last Wednesday at Te Rauparaha Arena.