Prime Minister’s Youth Programme Acknowledges Inspirational Young People

26 February 2018

The Prime Minister’s Youth Programme (PMYP) Celebration Dinner took place in Auckland on 25 January 2018. Rangatahi were recognised for their achievements and received certificates from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Youth Peeni Henare. For these exceptional young people, it was the highlight of a jam-packed week.

Bluelight Presentation

L-R: Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Catherine Iakopo and Minister for Youth Hon Peeni Henare

Bluelight Presentation

L-R: Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Samuel Wilson and Minister for Youth Hon Peeni Henare

Around 100 rangatahi who have overcome considerable challenges are participating in PMYP 2018. The programme, now into its ninth year, includes learning activities, mentoring, and opportunities to build capability and resilience. It’s aimed at young people (aged 14 to 17) from diverse backgrounds, who are managing challenges and making sustained attempts to instigate positive life changes, such as moving away from low level offending, truancy or poor academic performance.

Cropped Youthtown Group

The Youthtown participants with Hon Peeni Henare, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Stan Walker

The young people gathered together during the week beginning 22 January to participate in activities such as a water safety module with Piha Surf Life Saving Club, an AUT culinary school experience, career workshops with Air New Zealand, AMP and Coca-Cola, and a Team New Zealand sailing experience.

Water Safety Module

Photo Credit - Greater Than: The Greater Than group enjoying water safety lessons

Coca-Cola Career Workshop

Photo Credit - Greater Than: The Greater Than group arriving for a career workshop at Coca-Cola

The key youth-focused organisations that are supporting the young people throughout the programme are Bluelight, Greater Than, The Village, Youthline and YouthTown. These organisations will provide mentoring support to participants for three months post the January four-day programme.

These rangatahi have been nominated to attend the programme by people who have worked closely with them and know them well. It’s about rewarding young people and also investing in their continued personal development.

“The programme has helped me do things I would never have done. I learnt to make a three-course meal. Cooking isn’t my strength but we all worked as a team and that made it easier,” says Taylor Joe, current PMYP participant.

AUT Culinary Experience

Photo Credit - Youthtown: The Youthtown group enjoying the AUT culinary experience

This year, Stan Walker as the guest speaker – he even performed a song a capella in te reo Māori. The audience was completely in awe. He spoke about his life and how despite facing many challenges growing up, he overcame these and has achieved fame as a recording artist, actor and television personality.

Stan Walker

Stan Walker

Everyone could see how inspired the rangatahi were by his experiences and in particular, his message to the rangatahi that they all have a unique purpose and contribution to make, really resonated.

Current PMYP participant, Quincy Moka had this to say:

“I went through some rough patches and wanted to make some changes in my life. The Programme has helped me do that. I want to get into the automotive industry and help youth today.”

A previous PMYP participant, Milan Silugga, returned this year as a volunteer for YouthTown to support the programme delivery and we were thrilled to hear how much her involvement in PMYP has supported her in achieving her goals.

“The programme really helped me at school. It made me work harder. It gave me confidence. I’m going to university this year to do Commerce; I want to be an accountant. I have been really influenced by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, as a female Prime Minister, to do well when I am older,” she said.

The week was an important time to recognise and celebrate this group of young New Zealanders who, despite incredible challenges, are doing very well. This programme is all about investing in them to build capability and resilience so that they can thrive now and into the future.

Many sponsors supported the week’s events including Rodney Wayne, L’Oreal, Number One Shoes, Farmers, Coca-Cola, AMP and Warehouse Group.