Mu­tual men­tors in­spire


Marl­bor­ough’s mayor and an 18-year-old for­mer col­lege stu­dent have joined forces to help in­spire lead­er­ship tal­ents in each other.

Tane Hen­der­son-Deakin is the first teenager to be cho­sen to take part in a spe­cial scheme aimed at de­vel­op­ing lead­er­ship among young Maori.

And the mu­tual men­tor­ing pro­gramme will also see mayor John Leggett tackle learn­ing te reo Maori.

The pair will hold monthly meetings to learn new skills from each other and pro­vide in­spi­ra­tion for fu­ture projects.

It is the first time the Marl­bor­ough District Coun­cil has signed up to the lead­er­ship pro­gramme.

John says he hopes the one-to-one men­tor­ing will be of ben­e­fit to both him­self and Tane. ’’I like to tell peo­ple that in Ro­torua in the 1960s my first teacher was a very well-known Maori ed­u­ca­tion­al­ist and we were im­mersed in multi-cul­ture ev­ery day but te reo just wasn’t part of the cur­ricu­lum then and is some­thing my gen­er­a­tion missed out on. ‘‘I am very keen to learn.’’ The long-term ini­tia­tive en­cour­ages may­ors across New Zealand to select a young Maori can­di­date to help en­cour­age and en­hance their lead­er­ship skills.

John says the re­la­tion­ship pro­vides both part­ners with the chance to gain a deeper in­sight into in­ter-gen­er­a­tional is­sues, cul­tural val­ues and ex­pe­ri­ences.

‘‘Tane was rec­om­mended to us as a young man who has a lot of lead­er­ship ma­te­rial and al­ready we’ve been talk­ing and ex­chang­ing ideas.’’

Tane, who works full­time at a weld­ing com­pany in Blen­heim, has just at­tended his first coun­cil meet­ing.

He also takes an art class at Marl­bor­ough Boys’ Col­lege and plays rugby.

With a long-term goal to com­bine his love of wood-carv­ing with a career in ei­ther men­tal health or youth men­tor­ing, he says meet­ing with John has al­ready been ‘‘re­ward­ing’’.

‘‘I was a bit nervous as he’s the mayor but he and all the coun­cil­lors I’ve been in­tro­duced to have been re­ally wel­com­ing. I want to learn from their ex­per­tise and knowl­edge.

‘‘I’ve al­ready been asked to look into a pos­si­ble pub­lic art pro­ject and it’s been great to get an inside look at how it all works.’’

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