Ex­cit­ing times for Kaita¯ ia

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Damien Rice

I’M pas­sion­ate about our com­mu­nity, our ran­gatahi and my fam­ily. I love to help our com­mu­nity in any way I can, and just get in­volved with what’s hap­pen­ing. I want to help make Kaita¯ ia a bet­ter place to live, work and play in.

I re­ally do love Kaita¯ ia, be­cause I was brought up here. I can proudly say that my most mem­o­rable mo­ments would be the five times my wife had our chil­dren, and I love that we are rais­ing them all here at home.

I’m a mu­si­cian and en­ter­tainer, but it can be tough be­ing in the pub­lic eye. Al­though it may not come across, whether I’m gig­ging or em­cee­ing an event, I’m al­ways ner­vous. To over­come it I act like I’m con­fi­dent as. When I was younger I learnt to look past ev­ery­one’s heads and not worry about who was look­ing at me. It is weird, be­cause if I stand there with just a mic I’m quite shy, but if I have my con­gos or gui­tar, I’m to­tally re­laxed.

I’m re­ally ex­cited for the re­build of one of Kaita¯ ia’s old un­used build­ings, and can’t wait to see it full of ran­gatahi ex­celling in what they want to achieve and sim­ply hav­ing some­where they can go to in town. The big­gest chal­lenge for me as a youth kaimahi is try­ing to ac­cess money to put things on for these kids.

The kids should have the free­dom to de­cide what they want to do with the money, not it be­ing de­cided for them. I see or­gan­i­sa­tions spend­ing money on stuff that youth don’t even want. It’s not easy if you want to keep the ran­gatahi en­gaged and pro­vide them with a space. But with­out that fund­ing, you have to go out there and hamu (ask). So yes, it is most chal­leng­ing at times, but we work through it.

In terms of safety on our streets right now, I want to help bring the com­mu­nity back to the old-school days, where par­ents knew where their chil­dren were and chil­dren had re­spect for their el­ders. Ul­ti­mately, I want to see a safer com­mu­nity where it is safe to walk the streets with­out hav­ing to look over your shoul­der.

If you get your­self in­volved with the com­mu­nity and the peo­ple of it, then it is im­por­tant that you ‘walk your talk’ so they have faith in your word, and that you hon­our what you say you will do for them. I truly be­lieve that’s what mat­ters in a small town like ours.

Damien Rice

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