Haven cre­ated for youth

Northern News - - FRONT PAGE - BAY­LEY MOOR

Kaikohe youth have a safe place to go with the open­ing of a space just for them.

Te Uma o Te Kona Kaikohe, named af­ter Te Kona, the mother of Nga­puhi leader Hone Heke, ref­er­ences her motherly na­ture pro­vid­ing safety and shel­ter - the aim of the new project.

Te Ko­tahi­tanga e Mahi Kaha Trust chair­per­son Aroha Ta­here, whose Kaikohe com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tion will run the youth space, says there has been a pri­or­ity to have a safe place for youth to go.

Ta­here says the work ramped up in May, when then trust chair­per­son Ben Dalton, and se­nior pub­lic ser­vant was asked in Welling­ton: ‘‘What’s go­ing on in Kaikohe?’’

The ques­tion came af­ter a se­ries of high-pro­file youth crimes, in­clud­ing a dozen youths steal­ing 10 boxes of beer from a Kaikohe liquor store in March. The same night around 20 youths were cap­tured on CCTV try­ing to break into the Mo­bil ser­vice sta­tion.

At the time Dalton said one of the best things that could be done would be to es­tab­lish a youth cen­tre in the town.

‘‘It takes a vil­lage, and these groups as a wider com­mu­nity have come to­gether to form a lo­cal so­lu­tion,’’ Ta­here says.

Dal­lon Au­gust says they want to build a re­la­tion­ship with the young­sters. ‘‘It’s about find­ing ways we can re­late to them and mak­ing them feel com­fort­able.’’

Dena-Ma­ree He­mara says she is hop­ing to en­gage youth with their whaka­papa and pepeha to give them a sense of be­long­ing. ’’We can build a foun­da­tion, where they can come and chill and get them off the streets.’’

Spon­sors have pro­vided Chrome­books, ta­ble ten­nis and pool ta­bles, bean bags and much more.

The youth space is funded for 12 months by a group of or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing Te Ko­tahi­tanga e Mahi Kaha Trust, Kaikohe Com­mu­nity and Youth Cen­tre Trust, the Nga­puhi As­set Hold­ing Com­pany, Kainga Ora and the Gov­ern­ment’s Re­gional Growth Pro­gramme.

Te Uma o Te Kona Kaikohe was of­fi­cially opened with a bless­ing on Au­gust 14, with the first youth gath­er­ing on Au­gust 24. It will be open ev­ery day af­ter school from 3.30pm.

❚ Te Uma o Te Kona Kaikohe, 135 Broad­way, open­ing night with free kai Au­gust 24 from 3.30pm.

BAY­LEY MOOR/STUFF

Dena-Ma­ree He­mara and Dal­lon Au­gust who will work with youth in Kaikohe.

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