Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services linked up with the Kaikohe community on Tuesday 8th April through local band, The Funky North.
The band played a 2 hour set ranging from Kaikohe rap to classic tunes while a Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services film crew spent the day capturing comments from locals about living, breathing, working and playing in Kaikohe.
The event provided a platform for delivering information about the Kaikohe Youth Action Plan to the community. Along with aiming to reduce youth offending, harm from drugs and alcohol, and truancy, the Action Plan aims to increase participation in education, training and employment. It was drafted through extensive consultation with the community, focusing on local responses to local issues, and is being delivered by Te Pae Aronga Taitamariki, a joint venture involving Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services, Otangarei Trust, and Youth Horizons
The plan also aims to nurture collaboration between agencies and providers in the social sector and higher levels of visible engagement with the community.
Kaikohe Social Sector Trials Project Manager Brennan Rigby says the Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services event offered an opportunity to get out into the community, deliver information on the project, and hear from the community directly.
"Like any community, Kaikohe is diverse… People in the Kaikohe community have a wide range of insights and ideas about how issues can be addressed."
"The Action Plan is a living document. The project aims to harness the energy of the community and make sure it is utilised in an ongoing way… to do that we need to listen and engage constantly."
Mr Rigby says building momentum around the Action Plan relies on providing new opportunities for youth to come together.
Following on from the event, HYPE (the HYPE Youth Advisory Group) are running a skate comp this week in Kaikohe.
The HYPE group is a collective of Kaikohe youth supported by local coordinator Linda Tiatoa (Mid-North Alternative Education Consortium), and others. Through the Kaikohe Social Sector Trial Mrs Heke reached an agreement with her employer to spend 5 hours a week concentrating on working directly with youth - work she formerly did on a voluntary basis. These five hours a week are put to great use.
Mrs Tiatoa says
"I have an amazingly supportive employer, who sees the value in what I love to do in the community with young people. By investing more time in supporting the HYPE youth advisory group, it's hoped that they will develop their skills, be the positive change they aspire to see happening in their community, and demonstrate their own leadership qualities amongst their peers".
The skate comp represents a double benefit for the Action Plan. With a focus on delivering engaging activities to youth in Kaikohe, the skate competition is picked to be a big draw card. However, the fact that the event has been organised by youth for youth is a real expression of local youth culture and a real marker of a developing capacity among youth.