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Local collective launched to support youth in Raglan

About the Project

May 5, 2023

In late 2022, a group of like-minded community members came together to launch the Whāingaroa Youthworker Collective – Ngā Whakaruruhau Mahuri.

Spearheaded by Joseph Rao (ex Raglan Area School teacher), Mike Rarere (Raglan Community House) and Gabrielle Parson (Raglan Naturally), the collective have been meeting regularly with other locals that are passionate about supporting youth in our community.

“We as the adults are like the trees that create shelter for young saplings – our rangatahi-  to grow,” said Joe Rao, referring to the meaning behind the name gifted to the collective by kaumatua Sean Ellison: Ngā Whakaruruhau Mahuri.

The collective initially met to counteract negative media representations around youth that were being depicted on the news at the time and are keen to celebrate youth successes and create space for young people to feel supported in Whāingaroa.

Having kicked off a series of summer events in November last year, bringing youth together for fun activities at the beach, the group are looking to create more opportunities and initiatives for young people.

They say ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and the youthworker collective’s approach is the same, aiming to connect youth with mentors in our community to share knowledge, skills and resources to build resilience. They also hope to have a specific space/hub for youth one day – a place where they can come together and connect.

Support has been wide-ranging and has come from all corners of the community, including involvement from Brenden de Ruysscher, Deilyn Tukiri, Sean Dillon, Raglan Area School, Raglan Naturally, Poutama Rites of Passage, and Raewyn from the Police as well as Brian Ruawai and Naomi Tuao from Soundsplash, Margaret Dillon from Feed the Kids, Teresa Morgan from Raglan Medical and Kelly Woolston from Whaikaha.

The collective agrees that, “We don’t want to be the adults telling youth what to do – we want to hear from youth what they want to see,” emphasising the importance of listening to the younger generation when it comes to seeing their point of view.

In New Zealand,12 to 24 years is the generally accepted age range for defining ‘youth’ or ‘young people’ and the collective have shoulder-tapped a number of ‘younger’ community members to drive the connection with youth in Whāingaroa.

At Whāingaroa Youthworker Collective – Ngā Whakaruruhau Mahuri’s latest meeting last week, collective members discussed their aspirations for the future of the collective, like funding a paid youth coordinator role to drive youth initiatives in Raglan.

Volunteers from the Raglan Community Patrol were also in attendance to explain their process to become a volunteer.  They gave a report on what they were seeing on their patrols and an overview of their role as the ‘eyes and ears’ of local police.

With the school holidays coming to an end last week, the collective held a fun Youth Session in the Town Hall to cap off the weekend with pool tables, games and snacks – organised by Jessica Hill from Dreamview Farm.  The youth events so far have been made possible through funding from Raglan Lions, Waikato District Council and Len Reynolds Trust.

The Youthworker Collective meets every 4-6 weeks and provides a space for ideas and concerns to be shared and supported, and projects to be activated.

If you are keen to find out more, support, or get involved with the Whāingaroa Youthworker Collective – Ngā Whakaruruhau Mahuri, contact Gabrielle:

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