Students from secondary schools in the Tauranga region were invited to He Rangatahi He Anamata, a rangatahi conference that took place yesterday. There they get to meet successful Māori as well as learn options for their future.

It was an opportunity for rangatahi to mingle with peers, make new connections and expand their horizons.

The summit was organised by He Mauri Ohooho, which was to gather students from schools around the Tauranga region, Māori businessmen, politicians and other aspiring Māori to see what the future may hold for them.

Almost 20% of Māori youth are unemployed; according to organiser Te Horipo Karaitiana, that's not a good statistic for Māori.

“That's appalling the Māori youth unemployment rate. So an event like this is a key strategy to make a difference and connect with our young people because our young people are our future.”

Peeni Henare, the Minister of Youth agrees.

“Tuatahi kia whakapakari ake i te hinengaro o tēnā, o tēnā o ngā taitamariki ko te pānga ki ngā huarahi ki roto i ngā tau kua pahure ake nei ko te tini o ngā tāngata e whai atu ana ko ngā mea Pākehā ko te hiahia mā ngā huarahi aua Māori e whai atu.”

He also says that Labour will be rolling out other initiatives for youth soon.

“Ko te aronga nui a te Pirimia ko ngā take taitamariki ne ko te mea pōharatanga, ko te poverty, engari hai tāna e hiahia ana mo ngā kaupapa e whakaritea nei e te kāwanatanga kia motuhake, tīni i ngā āhuatanga o tēnei ao kia whakaritea nei he painga he huarahi mo ngā taitamariki.”

The organisers of the event are looking to take this initiative to other regions.

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