A passion in environmental science and restoration has landed two exceptional Waikato rangatahi front row seats alongside some of the region’s best in governance leadership.
Shakyra Te Aho of Ngāti Rereahu and Tana Bell of Ngāti Maniapoto will be closely mentored by Waikato Regional Council chair, Alan Livingston, and deputy chair, Tipa Mahuta, through the Tuia Mentoring Programme.
Administered by Local Government New Zealand, Tuia leadership development programme is a long term, intergenerational approach to developing the leadership capacity of young Māori in communities throughout New Zealand.
The programme involves mayors and chairs from the local government sector selecting a young Māori from their district or region to mentor on a one-to-one basis, with the aim of encouraging and enhancing leadership skills.
Tuia also provides young Māori the opportunity to build a network, which includes civic leaders, Tuia facilitators, as well as like-minded peers, who support each other to contribute to their communities.
Cr Alan Livingston said: “There comes a point in a young person’s life where they may think, 'How can I do more? Or, how can I be more than this? For those asking that of themselves, Tuia is the perfect fit.”
The passing of knowledge through the mentoring process is two-way. The councillors also benefit from hearing a rangatahi perspective as they interact and discuss key issues that face the region, Cr Livingston said.
Cr Tipa Mahuta is excited by the varied backgrounds of this year’s tauira. “Rangatahi are a way to touch the future. The more good things we plant in them, the better the future looks for my mokopuna (grandchildren).”
The Tuia rangatahi experience includes monthly mentoring, exposure to regional events, a community contribution project and five national youth leadership wānanga held throughout the year.