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Youth of Puketāpapa: Meet our new youth board members

Youth Week is from 19 – 27 May

Published: 10 May 2018

Puketāpapa Youth Board presents an opportunity for young people to share their perspective and contribute to shaping the future of the local board area. It is proudly supported by Puketāpapa Local Board.

Members of the youth board contribute their time and skills in serving their communities. To mark Youth Week 2018, here’s a closer look at the members of the Puketāpapa Youth Board and why they do what they do.

Brian Khomkomphut

Kia Ora, Sawadee, Ni hao, Namaste, Hello,

I am Thai and currently in Year 11 at Mount Roskill Grammar School. I am in many co-curricular activities within my school such as a trained Mediator, Librarian, School Guide, Locker Committee, Cooper House Committee and also a St. John Cadet. I have volunteered at many youth organisations and events around Auckland.

I am very honoured to be part of Puketāpapa Youth Board as I am very passionate about having a safe, vibrant community. I joined Puketāpapa Youth Board as I think it is a wonderful opportunity for me to be part of Auckland most diverse community, be a voice and representative for our youth, and help express any concerns anybody may have within our community. I’m excited to meet new people in our diverse community. 

 Ojas Shukla

The Puketāpapa community has given me opportunities I will always be grateful for such as being the Head boy and board of trustee student representative of Mount Roskill Grammar School. A sense of gratitude inspired me to join the board. Because of this, I have two things I plan to achieve in my time on this board.

First, I wish to give back to the community through contributing my time. Second, in recognizing Puketāpapa's diversity, I aim to help increase communication and ties between different cultures so that we can capitalize on what makes our area so great. I hope that from this board I can grow as an active citizen and can get a much better understanding of how change can be brought about at a local level.

Raymond Feng

I’m a Year 12 student at Lynfield College, and I’m privileged to be a part of the Puketāpapa Youth Board for 2018. Being able to represent and empower youth within our community is a fantastic feeling, and I’d love to be a part of that. Politics and local council initiatives have always been topics I’ve had a keen interest in.

Being involved in debating, discussing issues first hand; it’s made me realize that the world doesn’t run itself and that there are in fact, real people working hard to make our communities better places. It’s about building networks within communities, so everyone can feel connected and emboldened to share their ideas.

To me, the local boards act as real facilitators of change, whereby problems and proposals transition from being mere notions of thought to their implementation. 

Patricia Wright

I am a fifth year BA/LLB(Hons) student majoring in Politics and Economics at the University of Auckland. In my spare time, I volunteer with refugee background youth and work at an animal shelter in south Auckland. I am driven to succeed by my desire to give back to my community and the friends and whānau who have invested in me.

I grew up in Puketāpapa, and I am excited to have this opportunity to give back to my community and help other young people realize their power and potential. I joined this board because I am passionate about advocating for and celebrating youth. While on the board, I want to see an increase in youth engagement, and a celebration of the fantastic achievements young people in Puketāpapa are making.

During this experience, I hope to further develop my advocacy skills. I am so excited to be working with other like-minded young people, and I hope that by working alongside them, I will expand my worldview and learn new skills from them.

Nancy Gafa  

I migrated from Samoa at the age of 3 but I have lived in Puketāpapa all my life. I am studying a bachelor's degree in social work at the University of Auckland. I want to be able to influence and serve my community, that’s why I am volunteering my time on the board.

I'm currently already working with Global Lighthouse Missions under their girls' programme 'Embrace Sisterhood' facilitating for young girls from Year 8. The purpose of this group is to help girls transition from intermediate to high school. We try our best to equip them with life skills and academic skills.

Being able to learn about people and society is something that I would love to bring to my work on the board. I have a passion for people especially the youth. Personally, it would be awesome for us to teach love and unity to our youth. To educate them about their worth and that they bring value to society. 

Mahad Yusuf

I’m 22 years old and moved from Somalia with my family as a refugee in the 1990s. I grew up in Mt Roskill and I have lived here all my life. I have gone through my own struggles being a young person and a former refugee who now lives in a western society.

It has caused a few identity clashes for me and culture shock, but over the years I have finally found my place in Aotearoa as a Kiwi-African. I have just finished my Bachelor of Youth Development and have been working with organizations such as Tekarana Trust and Umma Trust.

I run music and wellbeing workshops for at-risk youth from the Wesley Community Center. It has allowed me to gain a great insight into young people and their developmental process. I hope to bring what I know to the board and contribute my skills in representing youth during my time here. 

Luke Johnson

I am a politics and international relations student at the University of Auckland. I’m passionate about increasing youth participation in decision making and I work with various organisations on engagement.

I’m currently serving as the member on Auckland Council’s Youth Advisory Board, a role in which I advise Auckland Council directly based on my own experiences within the community.

I wanted to join the Puketāpapa Youth Board because I want to help build a closer relationship between the young people that call Puketāpapa home, and the Puketāpapa Local Board which represents them.

Melinda Sun

I am a Year 10 student at Mount Roskill Grammar, I want to help make our community better for the youth and develop some leadership skills.

I was inspired to join because I've always wanted to give back to the community and being on the Youth Board is perfect for that. I hope to learn more about my community during my time here.

Angel Potoi

Talofa Lava. I am 16 years old, attend Mount Roskill Grammar School and I am a proud teine Samoa. I want to see change! Regardless of your colour, race or age, anyone can make change, today, tomorrow and in the days to come.

Being Polynesian, we are divided by some aspects of our lives. But really, we are no different. I believe that the hard effort you put in is seen in the outcomes of your work.

This line summarizes what I mean: Everyone wants happiness. No one wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain!

Bethany Leota

I am a Pasifika student in my last year at Mount Roskill Grammar. I love to meet and have meaningful connections with people of all ages and races in my community.

I am outspoken and love to help people have a voice, which is why I am looking forward to serving on the Puketāpapa Youth Board. 

Michael Howell

I’m a Year 12 student representing Lynfield College on the Puketāpapa Youth Board for 2018-19. I have a passion for learning, people and technology, and I have been lucky to embrace these in combination in many areas of my life including the Robotics and Debating groups I am a part of, and the leadership roles I serve at my school.

I have lived in Puketāpapa all my life and over that time I have recognized the importance of diversity in our cultures, values and opinions in the community. The value young people bring to the community is important to me and is often overlooked.

This is why I find the opportunity to serve on the youth board important as it is a way for me to help give the youth in our community the chance to share their perspectives and opinions and create meaningful change in our community.