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Stan Walker inspires taiohi at youth workshop
Māori singer/songwriter/actor Stan Walker delivered a funny speech peppered with inspirational phrases and digs at himself, during a forum for Taranaki taiohi on Friday November 9.
Organised by Tui Ora Public Health, in partnership with Taranaki and Te Atiawa iwi and Te Korimako o Taranaki, the day-long event focused on the many aspects of wellbeing including mental health. About 80 students from a range of Taranaki schools took part.
Stan, who performed in a New Plymouth concert on Friday night, urged the young people to find out what they were good at. "I don’t know your situation, where your from. But I do know every single one of you was born for a purpose and with purpose”.
"If I could say anything to myself back in the early days, it would be - everything is going to be all right…hold in there man.
"Dream and then dream big and dream bigger after that. Work hard. You might think you are a minority but it only takes one person to change the world."
He joked that he was a ratbag at school and things he got told off for were now his 'talents.'
"I used to get told off in class all the time for talking and singing, now I get paid to sing. I used to be a compulsive liar, now I think that was practice for acting. You need to learn to use your talents and make your life your best life."
He said he saw hope in the world because this was a generation of change. "Be about life, hope and joy."
Connecting with each other was important. Online "face chats" were ok but it was better to talk “Kanohi ki te Kanohi” our face to face.
Stan is touring the country, giving a number of concerts for the first time since being diagnosed with stomach cancer and having his stomach removed last year.
In August this year he said learning to sing again was a huge hurdle in his journey back to health. After the major surgery he couldn't hold a note for more than three seconds.
He joked to the Taranaki rangtahi about how skinny he now was.
"I always pray when I go onto stage. I need God to help me. I look like a rake, a daddy long legs. I don't have to have no diets anymore."
It was an honour and a privilege to be speaking today. "Thank you so much for having us here today. I really appreciate you all”
Read more about Stan's journey to wellness
Other key speakers included Taranaki lawyer/iwi environmental leader Puna Wano-Bryant, ex-pro boxer Sam Rapira, and Youth Entrepreneur and speaker Rahiri Edwards-Hammonds. All speakers with the exception Stan are uri of Taranaki, and encouraged all Taranaki Taiohi tō never give up, and reiterated the key theme of the day - failing forward.