Ministerial Youth Advisory Group

The Ministerial Youth Advisory Group gives young people aged 14-18 the chance to have their say about education in New Zealand.

My Education, My Voice - video transcript

Background music plays: Reaching New Heights by Vincent Tone.

Youth Advisory Group member Costa Blackman is sitting on a park bench outside the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Costa Blackman: Kāti, tēnā tātou. Ko Titirangi te maunga. Ko Ūawanui-a-Ruamatua te awa. Ko Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti te iwi.

Costa Blackman: Kia ora. My name is Costa Blackman and I am lucky enough to be one member out of twelve to be a part of the Youth Advisory Group for Chris Hipkins.

Costa interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in meeting room in the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Watene Campbell: And man, it’s been a wonderful journey along the way. Personally for me, I’ve been able to voice my thoughts and opinions about my culture, about my identity, and who I am as a Māori in this country.

Watene interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in meeting room in the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Kate Morris: The most rewarding part of the Youth Advisory Group this year for me was definitely the feeling of really doing something and really making a change and I think that was because of the amazing other participants in the Youth Advisory Group, the facilitators, and also just all the people that came and talked to us made us feel so valued so I really liked that feeling.

Kate sits beside Hadassah Wharawhara in Ministry of Education area as she talks. She interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in meeting room in the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Shaneel Lal: Minister Hipkins was great to work with because he’s a very humble person. He can really understand where we’re coming from and is very neutral and does not have judgment with people from different backgrounds.

Shaneel sits beside Liam McLeavey in the Ministry of Education foyer as he talks. He interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in a Ministry of Education meeting room in national office in Wellington.

Okirano Tilaia: I felt like my voice is being heard. As a Pacific Islander that’s really important. The values that I bring. The soft skills that I bring from my culture and know in myself. The sense of belonging. I’ve left every meeting with Chris Hipkins, the NCEA providers, feeling like I’ve said everything I’ve wanted to say and that’s advice I’d like to give to the 2019 YAG group. Always leave the room knowing that you’ve said everything you’ve wanted to say.

Okirano sits beside Geniqua Samupo and Nathan Farr in Ministry of Education meeting room as he talks. He interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in meeting room in the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Abby McRoberts: The greatest part of being part of the Youth Advisory Group is it makes so much sense because as students we know best what it is like to be in the New Zealand education system. So it was such a genuine opportunity to have our say and voice our opinions.

Abby sits beside Watene Campbell and Costa Blackman on park bench outside the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Brodie Cross: The most rewarding part for me seemed to have been the interaction that I had with Minister Hipkins on a regular basis and getting to find out what happens behind the scenes.

Brodie sits in front of Shaneel Lal and Liam McLeavey in the Ministry of Education foyer as he talks. He interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in a Ministry of Education meeting room in national office in Wellington.

Liam McLeavey: Oh and the sausage rolls in his office were pretty good too.

Liam sits beside Shaneel Lal as he talks.

Geniqua Samupo: I have a lot of younger up and coming siblings and cousins and so being a part of this will majorly impact their lives so I’m happy to be part of YAG.

Geniqua sits beside Okirano Tilaia and Nathan Farr in Ministry of Education meeting room as she talks. She also interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in meeting room in the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Liam McLeavey: The most rewarding part of being in the 2018 Youth Advisory Group is actually being part of a bigger conversation about how we can change education for the better for our country and for our people.

Liam sits beside Shaneel Lal in the Ministry of Education foyer as he talks. He interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in a Ministry of Education meeting room in national office in Wellington.

Nathan Farr: Being able to have a say in things that will be affecting the education of the youth of New Zealand and being able to share our thoughts and not being afraid of people being angry at what we say.

Nathan sits beside Okirano Tilaia and Geniqua Samupo in a Ministry of Education meeting room as he talks. He interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in meeting room in the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Hadassah Wharawhara: Getting to meet students and your peers from all around New Zealand. Getting to hear the different insights and perspectives and seeing what makes them unique.

Hadassah sits beside Kate Morris in a Ministry of Education area as she talks. She interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in meeting room in the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Kate Morris: You know there’s such a diverse range of students all around the country and sometimes we forget about it because we’re stuck in the little bubble of our schools but I think it’s really opened my mind to the diversity of all the people and all the experiences that are out there in the education system.

Kate sits beside Hadassah Wharawhara in Ministry of Education area as she talks. She interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in meeting room in the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Abby McRoberts: So guys, I’m leaving the YAG for next year so I want to know, what do you guys want to talk about in your next meetings?

Abby receives a leaving gift from Minister Hipkins during Youth Advisory Group meeting. She sits beside Watene Campbell and Costa Blackman on park bench outside Ministry of Education as she talks.

Costa Blackman: I think in our next meetings, I think we want to still hold changing education so it fits our younger leaders.

Watene Campbell: For all you keen beans out there who are willing to share your thoughts and opinions about our education system. Nau mai piki mai whakakake mai.

Watene stands outside Youth Advisory Group meeting room in Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Liam McLeavey: I’d encourage everyone to get involved as much as you can in the Youth Advisory Group and join a much bigger conversation about how we can create an education system with young people.

Liam sits beside Shaneel Lal in the Ministry of Education foyer as he talks.

Shaneel Lal: I’m really looking forward to hearing more voices, more members of the youth, and telling more stories of invisible people in our education system.

Shaneel interacts with other Youth Advisory Group members and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins in a Ministry of Education meeting room in national office in Wellington.

Fade out.

Fade in to bloopers.

Costa Blackman: Have your say. Apply yourself to be a part of the Youth Advisory Group 20…..

Costa, Abby McRoberts and Watene Campbell interact with each other on a park bench outside the Ministry of Education and laugh when Costa makes a mistake.

Shaneel Lal: If you want to fly to Wellington four times a year, join the YAG.

Liam McLeavey: I don’t fly to Wellington.

Shaneel Lal: Well, you can still lie!

Liam McLeavey: I get a train.

Shaneel interacts with Liam McLeavey in the Ministry of Education foyer area and laughs with Liam.

Kate Morris: Kai te… no, I did it again…

Hadassah and Kate laugh together in an area inside the Ministry of Education national office.

Watene Campbell: Oh my God! Come on…

Watene makes a mistake and claps his hands while standing outside the Ministry of Education national office in Wellington.

Fade out.

Background music fades out.

Meet the 2019 Youth Advisory Group

Adrienne Hunt, 14, Whanganui

Adrienne Hunt, 14, Whanganui

I am 14 years old and I am from Whanganui. I attend Whanganui High School. I’ve been in Oranga Tamariki’s care for the last year and a half and before that I was in and out of care for 2 years. I look forward to having the opportunity to be a voice for youth and be a part of hopefully making a difference.

Moeka Koyama, 14, Motueka

Moeka Koyamo, Motueks

Tēnā koutou. My name is Moeka Koyama, 14 years old and a student at Motueka High School in sunny Tasman.

I was born in London, but my parents are Japanese. I have lived in New Zealand for 7 years. My mother tongue is Japanese.

One of my biggest challenges as an international student at first was overcoming the language differences and now as a fluent English speaker, I would like to see education being accessible to everyone, without any language barriers.

I have extensive experience in leadership roles. From being a student council member at school to assisting with outdoor education camps and leading the cello section for the local youth orchestra, I enjoy challenges and working as a team.

I am looking forward to meeting new people, bringing my skills and perspective to the 2019 advisory group and through learning and sharing having an input in to our education system.

Shaneel Lal, 19, South Auckland

Shaneel Lai, South Auckland

I was born in Fiji and at the age of 14, I moved to New Zealand with my family. I was very excited, moving from a little village in Fiji to the largest city of New Zealand. In my time in New Zealand, I have been an active member of my community through service.

Being a Pacific Islander, I feel that it is vital that the voices of young people from my community are heard during the policy making and that our culture is incorporated in the system and respected in society. Slowly but surely, Pasifika youth are becoming a minority group within the education system and it is easy for the youth to fall out of the loop holes.

I joined the Youth Advisory Group to ensure that a Pasifika perspective is available, to share my experiences and make a change to the education system so that it works for all. I will be able to continue this work through my role as the 2019 Youth MP for Manukau East.

Since early childhood, I have known that I don’t conform to the heteronormative structure of society, but I have also known that non-conformity challenges the traditional conventions that are forced onto the minorities that exist today. Being able to learn about other people and their experience has allowed me to be open minded and even understand parts of me. I have a keen interest in advocating for the LGBTQIA+ youth; debating why 'gay is okay’ and ‘trans rights are human rights.’

My growth comes from being educated and that is why I strongly believe that all learners should have the right and access to quality education regardless of their background. However, as an international student, my dreams are being snatched away from me every day. While my fees are incredibly high, there is a serious lack of financial support available to me as an international student. I find myself juggling between the passion to advance myself in the education system but having multiple financial constraints.

My long-term goal in life is to be happy and I derive my happiness from the happiness of my community. This significantly has influenced my career choice. There is a serious lack of Pasifika people in areas such as Engineering which means there is also a lack of role models for Pasifika youth who want to build a career in these areas. I want to be able to give back to my community by being a role model for young Pasifika people, by sending the message that it is possible to do what you’ve set your mind to regardless of how you’ve been stereotyped.

Liam McLeavey, 18, Palmerston North

Liam McLeavey, 18, Palmerston North

Kia ora tātou

Ko Tararua te maunga

Ko Ohau te awa

Ko Massey University te whare wānanga

No Levin ahau

Ko Liam McLeavey tōku ingoa

Hi, my name is Liam McLeavey, I am 18 and about to embark on a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Social Policy and Politics at Massey University.

I am extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to serve on the Youth Advisory Group again in 2019. 2018 was a busy year in education, which means for us, the YAG had lots to say and we will again in 2019!

I was born and bred in the mighty Horowhenua. I bring the perspective of growing up and being educated in a rural community, and the challenges associated with that. I also previously have been on a Board of Trustees, that was a massive learning curve and I now understand the inner workings of how schools operate.

In my community of Horowhenua, we have significant issues surrounding youth participation in education, training and employment. I established an initiative called Pathways Horowhenua which aims to bridge the gap between education and employment. It is important that we have an environment in Horowhenua that our young people know they can have a great future and be proud of the pathway that they choose. Lots more to come in this space!

I look forward to coming back down to Wellington this year and playing a role in improving New Zealand’s education system for all.

Okirano Tilaia, 17, Christchurch

Okirano Tilaia, Christchurch

Talofa lava, my name is Okirano (but everyone calls me Oki), and I’m 17 years old. I live in Christchurch and am a Year 13 at Cashmere High School; I’m fortunate enough to be appointed the role of 2019 Head Boy at Cashmere High School.

I am of Samoan decent and I cherish every part of my Pacific roots, as I believe if a student has a strong sense of belonging, they are more likely to succeed in all aspects of their lives including the education system. I enjoy playing basketball and have had the opportunity to represent my school, Canterbury, and New Zealand.

In school, I love history and developing a spectrum of perspectives about past historic events. More importantly, I have a passion to help people locally and internationally; a value I have learnt from my supporting parents. I want Pacific youth to have a voice in the New Zealand education system to succeed and have the freedom to express themselves. Fa’afetai lava!

Geniqua Samupo, 17, West Auckland

Geniqua Samupo, West Auckland

Fakalofa lahi atu and greetings to all!

My name is Geniqua Samupo. I am eighteen years old and have love for my Niuean heritage. I was born and raised in Auckland with two younger brothers who also share the same love and passion for our Niuean heritage.

This year I will be studying at Auckland University of Technology’s city campus which was a goal I had set to achieve in 2019. To be able to return for another year as a Youth Advisory Member is an honour and privilege.

I can’t wait to see what this year will have to offer.

Brodie Cross, 18, Christchurch

Brodie Cross, Christchurch

Kia ora tātou. My name is Brodie Cross. I’m a Year 13 student at Te Kura o Te Aho Pounamu and joined YAG in 2018 with the intention to share my perspective and challenges as a student with impairments.

This year, I will continue to give insights in that area and look forward to resuming my position to ensure Aotearoa has an inclusive education system for all children and young people.

Nathan Farr, 17, Dunedin

Nathan Farr, Dunedin

Kia ora, I’m Nathan Farr. I was born in Tāmaki Makaurau and went to a school in South Auckland, then moved to Ōtepoti. I am 17 years old and attend King’s High School.

I have a huge interest in the way the education system operates and the best way possible for students to be able to achieve their personal best. I want to provide the perspective of someone who has experienced a wide range of teaching styles and the perspective of someone who has a learning difficulty.
I have had experience in many different local groups, national groups and I want to take the skills I have learnt from them and use them to help have a constructive conservation around the education system and how it can best meet the needs of the students who use it daily.

I have a huge passion for the wellbeing of other young people and how their wellbeing can be supported through a well-structured system that puts the quality of the content above the quantity of the content that students are being taught. As well as the number of assessments that students need to do. I hope to have a positive impact on the education system through my role on the Youth Advisory Group.

Hadassah Wharawhara, 18, Auckland

Hadassah Wharawhara, 18, Auckland

Ko Kawa te maunga

Ko Waikato te awa

Ko Tainui te waka

Ko Tainui tōku iwi

Ko Ngāti Haua tōku hapū

Ko Tau Whare tōku marae

Ko Hadassah Wharawhara tōku ingoa

Kia Ora,
My name is Hadassah Wharawhara and I am of Māori and Samoan descent. I was born in Wellington and raised in the beautiful Bay of Islands. I graduated from high school in 2018 and am continuing my studies at AUT this year doing a BHs Nursing. I am currently working part time as a Rangatahi Cadet (HCA) for Waitemata DHB at Waitakere Hospital. My hobbies include kapa haka, sports and baking. I am very much looking forward to what 2019 brings.

Costa Blackman, 17, Tolaga Bay

Costa Blackman, 17, Tolaga Bay

Ka titiro whakarunga au ki tōku maunga tipuna a Tītīrangi
E pa ana ki te maunga tapu a Hikurangi.
Ka rongo au i nga wairere o tōku awa a Ūawa-nui-a-Ruamatua
E waiata ana ki te awa tapu a Waiapu.

He uri ahau no Hauiti, no Porourangi.

Ko Costa Blackman tōku ingoa.

Tēnā koutou katoa.

My name is Costa Blackman. I am 17 years old.

I speak both Te Reo Māori and English, and attend Tolaga Bay Area School and Kahukuranui.

Kate Morris, 17, Darfield

Kate Morris, Darfield

Hey! My name is Kate, I'm 17, and I'm in my final year at Darfield High School in Canterbury. At school I love studying French and History, and outside of school I work at the local bakery and do musical theatre.

This year I'm lucky enough to be in the Press Gallery for the 2019 Youth Parliament, which I'm super excited about. Being in the Youth Advisory Group last year was an incredible experience, and I'm really looking forward to this coming year.

Watene Campbell, 17, Wellington

Watene Campbell, 17, Wellington

Kia ora, my name is Watene Moana Campbell, I’m 17 years old currently studying part time at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna and Victoria University.

At this stage of my life, I’ve found a strong passion towards making a change for the betterment of my people and culture in any way I can. I enjoy making genuine relationships and connecting with people by sharing meaningful conversations. Later in life I hope to pursue a career where I can continue to voice my opinions on a national scale such as being a news reporter, lawyer, or sneaking in somewhere in Parliament.
Tēnei te mihi atu nei.

Further information

Contact youth.voice@education.govt.nz

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