NZ needs to invest more into the nation’s youth - Ōtara youth advocate

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

Otara youth advocate Caleb Va'a is calling for New Zealand to put more focus and resources into youth initiatives. This comes after the death of South Auckland teenager Morocco Tai who died in a police chase.

It's the second week of the holidays and kids in Ōtara are making their own fun, but youth advocate Caleb Va'a says that more needs to be done to help Ōtara youth succeed.

“Drugs plays a massive influence in our young people's lives, no jobs, the struggle of parents putting bread on the table, self-worth, identity, knowing who they are, and if they don't find love at home, they walk out to the street and find love with their friends."

Shaun Tautali is the Public Health Team Leader for South Seas Healthcare in Ōtara, he says that for the past 2 years a primary focus for them has been the holistic well-being of youth, as opposed to clinical health alone.

"We look at kids just being real and letting them tell their stories. I think that it's important that we listen to their stories and give them that opportunities to see what's really going on and their struggles in the community."

The death of 15-year old Morocco Tai has prompted Va'a to make a change. He says New Zealand needs to 'pick up their game' and invest more in the nation’s youth.

 "They don't see what's behind that face of the boy that passed away, they don't know what he's going through, they see a face value and they take what he does just to be a norm."

The fatal crash has been referred to the Independent Police Conduct Authority and the police are conducting their own investigation.