This page contains information about our former YAG chairman that has been recognised nationally with 'A Minister of Youth Change Maker'Award (Cultural), presented in Wellington earlier this month.
19/04/2017 12:00 a.m.
When Whangarei District Council was looking for new Youth Advisory Group members at the beginning of the year, former Chairman of the group Justice Hetaraka stepped forward to describe her experience on YAG and to encourage other young people to be involved.
This month the young leader has been recognised nationally with A Minister of Youth Change Maker Award (Cultural), presented in Wellington by the Minister for Youth, Nicky Kaye.
The award is for young people who have created positive change to foster cultural understanding in their community. Justice’s citation said she was driven by a desire to normalise Māori culture for all, and demonstrate the beauty of social unity through her leadership roles and contributions.
“In 2016, Justice took it upon herself to tutor and lead her high school Kapa Haka team and initiate a new school Karakia (Te Timatanga) with no religious base,” the citation said.
“Justice is also a regular participant in speech competitions and events such as Tuku Korero, Baha’i Race Relations, Lions Club and local slam poetry events.
“Justice has been an active member and chairperson of Whangarei District Council’s Youth Advisory Group and a representative at Youth Parliament 2016,” it said.
Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai said Council’s Youth Advisory Group was proving to be an effective launch pad for young leaders in Whangarei.
“We are blessed with outstanding young people in our community, who at a very early age develop the passion to express their talents for the benefit of our community. They start young and, over their lifetimes, these will be the young people to guide New Zealand society.
“Justice came into YAG wanting to represent and assist members of the youth community that are often overlooked by large organisations like local and central government.
“At the time she said she was surprised at the group’s passion for the development of the Whangarei District, and found it encouraging to be surrounded by like-minded people who want to make change in our community.
“Great talent combined with passion and vision is a rare and precious thing, and this award for Justice is a credit to everyone who has got behind her, supported, encouraged and mentored her as she has developed her own inherent qualities. Well done Justice, and all your whanau, friends and supporters. Keep up the good work. We are depending on it!”
Youth Minister Nikki Kaye said the Ministry received around 190 nominations and 50 people and organisations received awards at a ceremony held at Parliament.
“When you look at the drive, skills, compassion and integrity evident in the winners across all the categories, it’s clear that our young people have enormous talent and potential, and the future of our country is in safe hands,” she said.