October 2021

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MPs have taiohi on their agenda

Last month three National Party MP’s representing the Social Services select committee were on a whirlwind tour of Taranaki keen to learn about how Youth Service achieves better outcomes for our taiohi.

The MPs (Simeon Brown, MP for Pakuranga and Youth spokesperson), Ian McElvie (MP for Rangitikei and Senior Disability spokesperson) and Louise Upston (MP for Taupo and Social Development & Employment spokesperson) met with kaimahi Hayden, Kerry, Tam, Jemma and Evan for a relaxed sit down to discuss the challenges that young people are facing today.

Evan explained how Youth Service was funded, who it is for and how it can help:

“We can help with the skills you basically need to go to work whether that’s first aid training, getting your driving licence, budgeting advice, cooking or finishing education but we also keep an eye on physical and mental wellbeing and building resilience.”

Jemma spoke about the problems of cyclic, generational trauma and how this plays out with whanau:

“We are succeeding if whanau open the door and invite us into their homes. We build the foundations with kaumātua who guide us culturally so that we offer more than just the medical model and can offer a holistic service that is about the whole person.”

Louise Upston questioned whether 16 was too old to be able to register with Youth Service given how many younger rangatahi are in need of help. Evan admitted that the model isn’t perfect:

“Our funding is for over 16s but there are 14 and 15-year olds dropping out of school with high mental health needs and wait lists for counselling services are long. We don’t want to see kids falling through the cracks but we know that it happens.”

The visit lasted an hour with the MPs rushing for the airport at the end of the hui. They thanked the Tui Ora kaimahi for an insightful hui and left knowing a little bit more about the challenges facing our taiohi and what Tui Ora and Youth Service are doing to help. 

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