United Nations speech first for Ngāti Kahungunu youth

By Aroha Treacher

Karamu High School student, 18 year old Romaine Crawford will be the first Māori to stand and talk at the United Nations Youth Winter Assembly in New York. There she'll be speaking on raising indigenous education particularly for Māori.

"Māori are more than capable of achieving better than what the statistics say we are and so a positie outcome would be seeing their statistics skyrocket far above what they are at the moment," says Crawford.

Her passion for raising Māori achievement in education came after researching a speech for the Manu Kōrero competition in Year 10.

"My topic was education as your most powerful tool and it was researching that topic and writing that speech that really kicked it all off because I had never really seen the statistics or really thought about it at a high level until that point in time, and since then I haven't really given up on it."

According to the UN Youth organisation archives which date back to 2012, she is the first Māori and the first Hawkes Bay representative

"For me and her mum personally, it's a huge achievement to be one of the first Māori to speak at the UN but the most thing we're proud of is the journey that it's taken, that shes had to go through to get there," says her father Quentin Crawford.

She is one of group of 22 top students that have been selected to take part in a special UN Global Youth Development Tour where they will look at sustainable development goals in line with the UN.