Cook Island Royalty has shown support for the Takitimu Ora initiative launched today in Flaxmere. The initiative is designed to help youth off the streets and into careers, it's a move the Rarotonga Queen says is needed not only for Māori but for her people as well.
According to Rarotonga Queen, Pa Ariki, “So by me coming here, I'm encouraging my own people down here to come and be a part of this.”
Takitimu Ora involves six different Māori providers all working together to help young people make something of their lives.
Des Ratima believes, “Over the years, we've had all sorts of different service providers and bureaucrats come in and tell us how they think things should be done. This time, it's what we think and we are the ones who will carry out the work.”
“As the community and the families here, we must support the youth in all aspects of their journey to becoming leaders,” added Ratima.
With around 25% of the Hawke's Bay population being identified as Pasifika, the Queen of Rarotonga expresses its importance.
“We have to help them, we have the same problem back home, so it's working together on it, walk the talk,” Pa Ariki explained.
Giving them business opportunities is part of the plan so that companies like Unison don't have to bring in specialist tradespeople from overseas.
Unison Chairman Kevin Atkinson says, “I think that's disappointing because what we should be doing through our education system is having these young people trained so that they come out and we don't need to bring those people in from overseas.”
They've set the goal of reducing the number of youth aged 15-19 who are not employed, in training or education by at least 20%.