Ngaru­awahia put in frame by youth

North Waikato News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Youth of Ngaru­awahia are set to make their mark in the town with a new ac­tion group, Em­brace the Fu­ture.

Since April, a team of young peo­ple has started to get the ball rolling on ideas for youth in the North Waikato town.

Their first project is a pic­ture frame to be erected for vis­i­tors and lo­cals to use for pho­tos.

‘‘It’s giv­ing the chance for peo­ple vis­it­ing Ngaru­awahia to re­mem­ber it,’’ mem­ber Wir­i­hana Eriepa said.

The group has in­vited the town’s res­i­dents aged be­tween 12 and 24 years old to come up with de­signs.

‘‘We wanted a way to get the youth in­volved in the project... there’s a lot of interest from the kids in the area,’’ Eriepa said.

Once the com­pe­ti­tion closes on Septem­ber 10, a panel will judge the en­tries and the win­ner will re­ceive a $100 gift voucher.

It’s a start to the many plans the group hopes to im­ple­ment in the town.

Mem­ber An­to­nia van den Bemd said a youth group meant stu­dents of all ages were able to have their voices heard.

‘‘I think that in Ngaru­awahia, for a while, the adults tried to de­cide what youth wanted... and it was all talk talk.’’

She said this plat­form was more ‘‘sta­bilised’’ and she is able to present the group’s work at the Ngaru­awahia Com­mu­nity Board.

Youth en­gage­ment ad­vi­sor Shan­non Kelly ini­ti­ated the youth groups in our dis­trict and helps the groups get to a point where they can run them­selves.

Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil’s gen­eral man­ager of strat­egy and sup­port Tony Whit­taker said the ini­tia­tive was about get­ting the younger gen­er­a­tion more in­volved in the com­mu­nity and coun­cil mat­ters.

The Youth En­gage­ment Plan was ini­tially de­vel­oped as part of the Waikato So­cial Sec­tor Trial, which was launched in 2013 by the Min­istries of So­cial De­vel­op­ment, Jus­tice, Education and Health, and the New Zealand Po­lice.

The trial ended in June, but the coun­cil de­cided to con­tinue with it and will re­view the plan in June 2017.

‘‘We are passionate about hav­ing young peo­ple en­gage with coun­cil and are com­mit­ted to achiev­ing our vi­sion of be­ing the most en­gaged coun­cil by 2020.’’

‘‘It also gives adults an op­por­tu­nity to step back to al­low young peo­ple to learn in lead­er­ship.’’

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