Rangitikei works to find ways to entertain young
An unprecedented number of young people have stood before Rangitikei district councillors this year to tell them they face a lack of things to do – but they know how to fix it.
Rangitikei Survivor and a New Year's Eve eco-festival were among the ideas dreamt up by pupils from Rangitikei College and Turakina Maori Girls' College in their bid to ward off boredom.
Bulls and District co-ordinator Bronwyn Meads had rallied the teenagers as part of a local government youth engagement project.
"They know what they look for in activities and events and they know what's lacking," she said. "It has been a very worthwhile process."
The teens emphasised that "town pride" was important to them, and they wished to have a crack at planning district-wide events for their peers such as a skate park and graffiti art competition and a Matariki festival for 2013.
Mayor Chalky Leary said the council had set aside $19,000 for youth projects and wished to support young people growing up in the district.
"I think it's great because we need to look after our young people."
"The council is very much in favour of helping these young ones, but within reason. We will encourage them as much as we can," he said.
Work and Income New Zealand district employment co-ordinator Kynan Bright said it was important that Rangitikei was a vibrant place for young people. Beneficiary numbers in the Rangitikei district stood at 7.2 per cent, compared with 6.5 per cent in Manawatu.
Ministry of Social Development programme Hype (Helping Youth Prepare for Employment) project manager Toni Giddens said offering employment for young people now would entice them to return to their home communities in later life.
"Part of what the programme is trying to achieve is to keep young people here.
"It's a good district to live in, central to everything and it's affordable to start a family and live out here," she said.
More than half the young people who had come through Hype's doors in Marton since February had found opportunities for work or training, with support from Work and Income.
School leavers were taught to put together CVs, about interview techniques and setting career goals.
A youth information centre is scheduled to open its new headquarters at the Centennial Park Bowling Club on Monday.
A youth centre beside it is already used by about 25 children each day. It was established last year and is run by volunteer Nathan Kane.
"We're keeping them out here in that 3pm to 5pm period after school where they get up to mischief," he said.
School-age kids crowded the centre daily, listening to hip-hop music, shooting hoops, playing table tennis and making friends.
The new centre would include a homework club, and support ideas for music evenings and dance parties to keep Marton youth amused.
Feilding High School pupil Kohe Tahu, 14, said he enjoyed the warmth and activities of the centre.
"You can get out of the house and make friends and all of that. It's cool."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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