Te Puni Kōkiri partnered with Te Rau Matatini and Te Taitimu Trust to deliver Au.E!, to increase awareness around suicide prevention and to reassure rangatahi that help and support is available.
“This is the third Au.E! conference and it remains an important event for rangatahi,” says Aroha Tanirau, Communications Advisor, Te Puni Kōkiri.
Inspirational speakers and workshops focused on celebrating uniqueness, encouraging pride and acknowledging talents.
Keynote speaker Raniera Rewiri, Health and Wellness advocate shared his emotional story of growing up being bullied. He reminded rangatahi of their unique importance in te Ao Māori and to be proud of who you are.
“Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi. Each of you are important because you are tomorrow’s rangatira.”
Keynote speaker Kenny McFadden, President Wellington Basketball Association and mentor to Steven Adams, shared Steven’s journey. A young 14 year old Māori boy not at school and getting into trouble, but he wanted to be an NBA player.
“Commitment to school and commitment to training were the only two things he needed to do. He asked for help at school and in basketball and because he asked he got the help and support he needed to achieve his goal.”
Au.E! is a rangatahi event delivering strength-based workshops that aim to raise suicide awareness, build resilience and overall wellbeing. The Conference provided an opportunity to form new connections within the community as well as delivering helpful information and tips to uplift and support rangatahi in their future.
Sons of Zion members Zane and Caleb shared their stories of growing up in Taupō and Whanganui, and provided a space for rangatahi to share their musical talents. Their main message was the importance of having goals and persevering to achieve them.
Barbers and makeup artists focused on building confidence and the importance of good self-esteem.
“Simply getting a haircut and style builds confidence and self-esteem,” says Peleti, Somehz Touch Barbers.
Husband and wife team Pawi and Tracey, taught raranga, a form of weaving using basic techniques handed down by our tipuna. Some rangatahi wore temporary moko kauae for the day.
“Matariki is an opportunity to share our traditional practises. Teaching rangatahi how to weave Whetu and Manu Aute ensures the skill is being passed down to keep the art form alive, and rangatahi are acknowledging the importance of Māori traditions” says Tracey.
The visual art workshop allowed rangatahi to express their creativity through painting, drawing and spray painting with some creating their own t-shirt.
Basketball and cross-fit workshops focused on the importance of being physically healthy as well as meeting new friends through team-based activities.
No one solution or organisation can prevent suicide. Since 2015, the Government has committed $10 million dollars towards rangatahi suicide prevention.
The Au.E! Conference is a great example of how community-based providers, experts and government agencies can work together to deliver important messages to rangatahi about suicide prevention.