Northland social service providers congratulated Associate Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson for investing in Tai Tokerau youth at a new initiative launched in Kaikohe this week.
Mr Jackson – also Minister for Employment – was in the north to hear communities’ experiences and aspirations for young people as part of He Poutama Rangatahi – a government strategy to get more young people into employment pathways.
Mr Jackson launched Taiohi Ararau – Passport to Life, a programme that supports young people aged 15-24 who are not receiving a benefit and not in employment, education or training. Through the programme, participants can access essential documents including a birth certificate, bank account, driver’s licenses, or an IRD number.
The Government is working with local community champions: Te Kotahitanga E Mahi Kaha Trust from Kaikohe, He Iwi Kotahi Tātou Trust from Moerewa, Te Hau Awhiowhio O Otangarei Trust from Whangārei, and Waitomo Papakāinga Development Society Incorporated from Kaitāia to deliver this pilot programme.
At Te Uma o Te Kona Youth Space, providers congratulated the Minister for recognising the specific challenges rural communities face and were thankful for a programme resource aimed at supporting whānau Māori.
Mr Jackson says the pilot programme will support taiohi Māori to take steps towards financial independence and improved wellbeing. “The community champions have a combined history of more than 100 years’ service in the region which has the largest Māori population identified as being at risk of long-term unemployment. I commend the work they do and their commitment to a brighter future. An initiative like this could not have come earlier.”
Taiohi Ararau: Passport to Life will adopt a whānau centred approach, which will both encourage taiohi to work with their whānau and engage whānau so they support their taiohi to reach their goals.
In Budget 2017, Taiohi Ararau: Passport to Life was allocated $4m over four years. Minister Jackson has secured an additional $8m to ensure that this programme supported by whānau, community champions and Te Puni Kōkiri regional offices, can continue to support our taiohi towards sustainable employment.
“It is important for me that we ensure all rangatahi can engage on a pathway to employment, skills development and further opportunities,” says Minister Jackson.
Karen Tasker, Te Puni Kōkiri Senior Advisor
027 226 4245