When Auckland’s five southern local boards looked to appoint someone to the 2022 Tuia programme, the quality of the applicants was so high one board selected two young people.
Manurewa Local Board chair Joseph Allan says when sisters Hoki-Tawhai and Eileen Cassidy suggested they share the role, the board jumped at the chance.
Hoki-Tawhai will take a senior role and Eileen will join under 18s initiatives.
“When you’re looking to participate in a programme to give rangatahi opportunities, and to learn from the perspectives they bring, you should be open to their suggestions,” Allan says.
“It’s impossible to see a downside in having two capable young women wanting to take part in a mentoring programme that will provide them with leadership tools for the future.”
Franklin, Papakura, Ōtara-Papatoetoe and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu will join Manurewa in a programme that sees elected members mentoring rangatahi to give them an insight into local government and a chance to network with other young leaders.
Papakura Local Board member and former All Black Rugby World Cup-winning hooker Keven Mealamu, will mentor Isabella Penrose.
“This is an awesome opportunity for us all to lift our rangatahi but also to see through their eyes and share the lenses they see things through.”
Elected in 2019, Franklin Local Board member Logan Soole became one of New Zealand’s youngest officials. He has already worked with Waiuku student Atea Kahukoka – now at Otago University, and will mentor Miami Taiaroa this year.
“Tuia is a chance for rangatahi to experience how local government works but also to give board members the chance to understand different perspectives.
Ōtara-Papatoetoe chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia will act as a mentor to Tayla-Marie Takawe.
“We welcome Tayla and all the participants because we need their young, beautiful, brown leadership to guide our city into the future. Tuia allows civic leaders to impart knowledge and experience in our rangatahi, our future leaders, so we move forward stronger together.”
Māngere-Ōtāhuhu board member Togiatolu Walter Togiamua is looking forward to acting as a mentor to PJ Campbell.
“We are excited to work with PJ, who is deep into his IT study at Auckland University and who has already returned to his old school, Mangere College, where he is working alongside the principal offering his skills back to his community,” he says.
“This is the south, where we engage openly and bravely with our communities for a good reason, because it is the way forward.”
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, an online hui has been held with the candidates, their whanau and mentors.
The rangatahi involved are all already contributing to their communities. As well as building networks they will receive training at wānanga and other mentoring opportunities.