Youth focus at marae community day

GEORGE GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 29/01/2014
Marae

COMMUNITY DAY: Piritahi Marae will be welcoming everyone on February 6 for a day of activities, entertainment and reconnection, with a focus on supporting young people

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Everyone is invited to mark their diaries for Waitangi Day celebrations at Piritahi Marae.

The marae in Blackpool will be celebrating the February 6 occasion with a day of activities, entertainment, workshops and a traditional hangi.

Young people in particular are encouraged to be part of the community event.

Marae committee member and Te Rito co-ordinator for Piritahi Hau Ora, Lisa Smith, is organising it.

She says it will be a day to reconnect.

"The underlying theme this year is about nurturing and strengthening family and community ties."

Ms Smith says many people on the island are unaware of the high suicide statistics for Waiheke.

"The number of people on our ‘at risk' list is also alarmingly high."

The common threads are feelings of disconnection, isolation, worthlessness and hopelessness, she says.

"I believe the archaic policy of not talking about suicide so as not to glamorise it has been distorted to such a degree that people are afraid to mention it.

"That fear shuts us down and stops us from reaching out to help those in crisis.

"This is further evidenced in funding thrown at the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff and scraps for prevention."

Ms Smith says the good news is that Piritahi Hau Ora is bringing a group of organisations together that deal with suicide. They will be uniting their efforts to support people at risk on Waiheke.

Meanwhile, the Waitangi Whanau Celebration Day will raise awareness around the issue.

A youth focus will celebrate life, nurture strengths, and forge positive connections.

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