The voice of youth empowered at annual conference

By Numia Ponika-Rangi

Youth from all over New Zealand have been attending the annual Aotearoa Youth Declaration conference in Auckland and one of the main items on the agenda was to create the "Youth Declaration", a document full of recommendations to be considered by Parliament.

The conference empowers youth to voice their opinions.

Maihi Bennett says, “It's a great opportunity for us to listen and come up with strategies that will broaden the mind.”

Not only voice their opinions, but have them written down in a "Youth-Declaration".

Jason Armishaw the National President of UN Youth says, “From health to education to the government structure of New Zealand and even to the social development and ethics and equity of New Zealand culture, the main themes have been around youth governance and youth participation in civic societies so civic education in schools and those sorts of things."

For the past four days, nearly 200 secondary school students and 40 tertiary students have been coming up with policy and value statements that they hope will influence government decisions concerning youth.

Stevie Davis-Tana says, “I encourage our young people to wherever they're from wherever they are to voice their opinions and to know that their opinion and voices are important, our young people need to take up opportunities and we also need to be offering our young people these opportunities"

Of the 100 youth declaration policies, one of the main policies is around civic education in schools and how governance is being taught.

According to UN Youth's national president Jason Armishaw, there needs to be more education around the whole governance system.

Jason Armishaw says, "There is a really big hole there that young people feel really needs to be filled so they can be informed on how policy is made in New Zealand."

A final copy of this year's Youth-Declaration will be sent to Parliament at the beginning of May.