Napier holds first Māori youth summit

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The Napier City Council has turned its attention to its Māori youth by holding a youth leadership summit, a first for the council as it looks to explore what success looks like for young Māori in the region. 

100 young leaders have come to be inspired by Māori role models.

"Some of the challenges they face, well for the majority of my friends, they find really hard to figure out what it is that they really want to do," says Tauawhit Bonilla, former head boy of Te Aute College.

Social media stars, beauty queens and Moko Foundation participants who went to the United Nations all share their stories.

"I've been able to experience both Pākehā and Māori.  We've come to this hui today to discuss, to wānanga together the balance between walking in both the Māori and Pākehā worlds," says Harlem-Cruz Ihaia-Atarangi, the current Miss Universe New Zealand.

The council says it wants to strengthen ties with Māori, not only now but for the long term benefit of iwi and hapū.

"They just decided they want to do something for leadership with young people and particularly young Māori women because there has been a derth of leadership amongst the young people and we wanted to encourage that," says Bill Dalton, Napier mayor.

"The rest of the country should take note of Napier, there are so many good things that come out of this, not only for Napier but for Māori in general," says Te Wehi Wright, who attended the United Nations with the Moko Foundation.

The focus of the summit is on entrepreneurship, career pathways and digital innovation through discussions and workshops.