Parris Goebel inspires as keynote speaker for PM Youth Programme

JASON DORDAY/Stuff.co.nz

Parris Goebel keynote speaker at the PM's youth awards

A global hip hop sensation took time out of her busy schedule to remind a group of Auckland youths that she was once just like them.

Parris Goebel gave an inspiring speech as the keynote speaker at the celebration dinner of the Prime Minister's Youth Programme 2016 on Thursday night.

The Youth Programme is aimed at celebrating young people who have overcome adversity.

Parris Goebel was the keynote speaker at the Prime Minister's Youth Programme 2016.
Jason Dorday

Parris Goebel was the keynote speaker at the Prime Minister's Youth Programme 2016.

Goebel now works as a choreographer with some of the biggest names in music, including Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez.

READ MORE:
* Kiwi dance crew in Justin Bieber's videos
* The rise and rise of Parris Goebel
* Inside Parris Goebel's dance Palace

 
Parris Goebel gave an inspiring speech at the Prime Minister's Youth Programme celebration dinner, reminding everyone ...
Jason Dorday

Parris Goebel gave an inspiring speech at the Prime Minister's Youth Programme celebration dinner, reminding everyone there that she is just like them.

But the 24-year-old is no stranger to overcoming adversity, as she told the group of 100 young teenagers aged from 14 to 17.

Originally from Manurewa, Goebel dropped out of school at 15 because she was failing most of her subjects.

"All I wanted to do was dance, and I guess my parents didn't really see that there was a better option. It was probably best for me to drop out of school and chase my dreams."

Without a resume or background, she was discouraged and embarrassed because she didn't know what to do. There were no hip hop classes she could take, and she had no experience.

Ad Feedback

"I'm this 15-year-old girl with a dream and nothing behind me. So I started my dance crew, ReQuest dance crew, at 15 year old," she said.

The team came second in a competition, and the following year they were the first all-girl group from New Zealand to win a medal at the world hip hop championships. 

To date, ReQuest has eight world championships to its name.

Goebel is now a renowned choreographer with her own dance company.

She choreographed Michael Jackson's Cirque du Soleil world tour, and has produced world tours for Lopez, Nicki Minaj and Janet Jackson. She also choreographed and featured in the movie Step Up 2 and New Zealand's first dance movie, Born to Dance.

Stuff.co.nz

Glen Eden Intermediate school was the location of one of the videos in a collaborative project between Justin Bieber and Parris Goebel.

Most recently, she choreographed 13 video clips on Bieber's new album, including the world famous "Sorry" video clip.

Produced in Auckland and featuring all Kiwi dancers, Goebel said it's a testament to what anyone in New Zealand can do.

"All the odds were against me being from Auckland, New Zealand, not looking like your average dancer, who would have thought I would be here today? I've worked with the best in the world, but on top of that I've done everything that I wanted to do when I was younger, and more."

But nothing came to her without hard work, she said, and others should be prepared to work hard, too. 

"I used to get my dad to order the DVDs in, and me and the girls would meet up at my house and have a sleepover. And me and the girls, we would study these DVDs and be like, 'how can we win this'?"

"You really can do anything if you put your mind to it," she said. 

She credits her success to her family who have supported her, lived her passion and followed her dreams alongside her. 

"I know that these days it's a rare feeling to have as a teenager that whatever you want to do, you can do it. So I'm really, really grateful that my family helped me believe in myself and got me to a point where I believed that I can do it myself."

A lot of Kiwi youngsters didn't have that same support, she said, and many in the crowd raised their hands in agreement. 

Goebel said without that support - whether financial, verbal or physical, young people needed to find a hero able to help pave the way for their journey. 

"I feel like we are not told enough that we are unique and we're special and we are made this way for a reason. I feel like we're in a world these days where everyone kind of looks like the same, do the same things, follow the crowd and I personally feel like it's worse than ever."

She said one of the biggest challenges she faced as a teenager was battling with severe physical insecurities. 

"I had really bad acne, I was really overweight so for me to be a dancer seemed impossible."

At 16, she went to America to audition for a hip hop show, where only 14 people were finally selected. 

"I remember walking into the room and all these girls had sports bras on six packs ... I ended up getting chosen for that show. And I really showed myself it doesn't matter what I look like, my talent's going to shine through."

She said she learnt it didn't matter what the world thought, she learnt to appreciate herself, love herself and be proud of who she was. She encouraged everyone in the room to do the same

"To sum it all up, if I can do it, you guys can do it too. I really just want to encourage you guys to find what you're passionate about, like not what anyone else wants to do, what your family wants to do. What do you want to do?

"What lights you up, what sets you on fire, what gets you excited? Find that, because I promise you when you're passionate about something, nothing can stop you."

John Key said he set up the Prime Minister's Youth Programme to celebrate youth who had made a difference in their own lives.

"The challenge is only whether you can sort of rise above that, I think, and believe in yourself. And if you can, then you're going to go and do well," he said.

"It's going to matter about whether you believe in yourself, whether you're prepared to work hard to do it, and whether you're going to give it a go. And if you are, you're going to go a long way."

He said the kids who were chosen for the programme demonstrated that they deserved to be there, and had proven they turned their lives around. 

Terence Slade, the regional youth ambassador, said most of the kids were from south and west Auckland and Kaipara.

They participated in a week-long programme to celebrate overcoming adversity and different challenges.

The programme was run by Blue Light, the Village Trust and Turn Your Life Around Trust.

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Leave the car to discover your area

Check out Google Maps to find great walks in your neighbourhood.

How well do you really know your neighbourhood?

Mad Butcher: Winners are grinners

I thought the boys were exceptional, really stepping up without him, and in particular young Nathaniel Roache, who came ...

OPINION: Just about had to prop my eyes open with toothpicks to write this I was so tired.

Home detention for crash teen

Danyon Haile Hati appealed his sentence for dangerous driving causing death in the High Court at Whangarei.

Unlicensed teen driver accelerated through a stop sign and killed a truck driver, but court rules jail sentence too harsh.

Chef to MPI: 'Burger off'

Duke of Marlborough restaurant manager Kelsey Benefield tucks into a Governor's Burger - before it's cut from the menu.

New red tape will kill signature hamburger at NZ's oldest licensed restaurant, says chef.

Wellington

Lions touch down in Welly video

Loose forward Sean O'Brien walks through a "guard of honour" set up by the fans.

The British and Irish Lions rugby tour has finally rolled into the capital.

Yacht crash 'like Survivor in real life'

The crew of shipwrecked yacht Jungle with the inhabitants of the little island that cared for the Kiwis at Tuavana-Ira.

Shipwrecked Kiwis near Fiji were taken in by remote islanders. In exchange, they gave them a bike.

$30m roaring into town video

An estimated $30 million is expected to be pumped into the Wellington regional economy during the week-long stay of The ...

About $30m is expected to be pumped into Wellington during the Lions games.

Demand for bag levy

Nearly half of New Zealand mayors have now signed an open letter to  Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson, ...

Mayors from 28 towns and regions have called for a plastic bag charge.

Canterbury

Firewood in hot demand

City Firewood owner John Harris says a combination of earlier cold weather and higher than average rainfall is making it ...

Suppliers struggle to keep up with demand as they battle to dry wood in the wet, cold weather.

Small plane crashes

A member of the Otago Aero Club was killed in the crash.

"Extremely sad" news for Otago Aero Club as small plane found crashed on rural farmland.

The mystery of the moving stone

Brendon Webber, contracts manager with Protranz Earthmoving. Protranz contractors found the dedication stone and have ...

Contractors working on the Metro Sports Facility find a displaced piece of an historic church.

Sneak peak at Court Theatre plans

Early concept sketches for the new Court Theatre in central Christchurch.

"No market" for commercial spaces needed to help pay for a proposed new Court Theatre, the company's chief executive says.

Waikato

Little support for Easter trading

Hamilton City Council asked people what they thought about shops opening on Easter Sunday. Most oppose it.

It's not what most Hamiltonians want, according to submissions to council.

Man dies in river

Emergency services were at the river mouth where the body was found.

Fisherman found dead at the entrance to the Kaituna River in the western Bay of Plenty.

Girl injured in crash

One resident's Toyota Vitz ended up taking out a fence after being struck by another vehicle.

A 13-year-old girl was taken to Waikato Hospital after a crash in Chartwell.

Missing man found

Louis de Quaasteniet was last seen walking from his home at Chapel Hill, Rototuna at 9am on Sunday. If you see him call ...

Louis de Quaasteniet has been found after earlier going missing.

Taranaki

Top shops revealed

Calvin and Fiona Nicholson have been in their photography store since 1982, but the time has come to sell up.

These are the best spots to get some good old retail therapy in Taranaki.

Skate park to be lit up

Vinny Horwell, 2, from Lepperton flies through a puddle on his bike at the East End Skate Park on Sunday.

A team of four are working towards getting lights for the East End Skate Park.

Maori representation to be debated

Councillor Murray Chong.

The NPDC will debate the new governance partnership with iwi on Monday night.

Schools merger plan vetoed

Phil Nixon, Craig Simpson, Hans Konlechner and Bart Crawshaw  are pleased to have a decision so quickly on the future of ...

After more than 18 months of debate, staff at a small town intermediate can relax.

Manawatu

Reclaiming tagged park

Replanting, murals and new fencing have brightened Tui Park in Highbury. Mucking in are Ngati Hineaute's Chris Whaiapu, ...

A playground that was an urban eyesore is rejuvenated with a whole lot of love.

Winston woos regions

NZ First leader Winston Peters used his speech at the party's campaign launch in Palmerston North to promise cash for ...

Tourist dollars diverted to regions, students have loans wiped if NZ First has its way.

Grans raising grandchildren

Carer Pat TeAu, picking up grandsons Jon, left, and Terence, from school.

Three grans raising grandchildren were treated to a special pamper pack as a thanks.

Teens need shoes

Palmerston North Boys' High pupils Finn Davidson, 16, and Trent Hooper, 15, are looking for tap shoe donations to stage ...

Teenage boys are lining up to learn tap dancing and have put out an appeal for footwear.

Nelson

Conversations in virtual reality

22062017 NEWS PHOTO MARTIN DE RUYTER /FAIRFAX NZ

Scott Cardwell of ImmerseMe with Nelson College for Girls year 10 ...

What if you could practice foreign languages in school while talking to real people, in real situations?

Fire guts Ngawhatu

Five fire crews battled a blaze at the abandoned Ngawhatu Psychiatric Hospital.

Former psychiatric hospital goes up in flames for second time in seven months.

Who killed Kevin O'Loughlin?

Kevin O'Loughlin, 30, who was stabbed to death on the corner of a Nelson carpark on May 2, 1993. His murder has not been ...

Who was the man behind one of Nelson's only unsolved murders?

No winging it with public speaking

Cellphones - every speaker's worst enemy.

Public speaking continues to be a bit of a challenge for middle-aged man Stu Hunt

Marlborough

Rescued, but no boat

The crew of shipwrecked yacht Jungle with the inhabitants of the little island that cared for the Kiwis at Tuavana-Ira.

The Blenheim man whose yacht beached on a reef near Fiji is bound for Suva, but his boat has been left to the sea.

Blenheim's bug motel

Faalelei Sioveata, 7, Angel Quinton, 9, and PhilipJunior Fodow, 7, have created a bug-friendly motel.

There's a new motel in town, and it's full of creepy crawlies.

Patrol vessel blessed for success

MPI chief compliance officer Anthony Little, left, with Archdeacon Andy Joseph while he blesses the new MPI fisheries ...

Longer, faster and harder to evade - The new fisheries patrol vessel in the top of the south is blessed and ready for action.

Timaru too strong for MBC

Marlborough Boys' College midfielder Nigel Satherley takes on the Timaru Boys' High School defence in Blenheim on Saturday.

Marlborough Boys' College's push towards the top of the rugby championship table was derailed by a tough opponent.

South Canterbury

Foodbank applauds bag appeal

Timaru Salvation Army Lieutenants Emma and Jacob Howan are hopeful that the physical bag in Monday's paper will prompt ...

Timaru foodbank operator hopes appeal will help restock at crucial time of the year.

Black spot targeted

John and Linda Cant, grandparents of Ruby Marris, 5, who was killed as a result of head-on collision near Moeraki in ...

New safety system installed on high-risk stretch of road near Moeraki.

One dead in plane crash 

A member of the Otago Aero Club was killed in the crash.

One person has died after a small plane came down near Middlemarch in Otago.

Second candidate confirmed

Timaru businessman Nigel Bowen will stand as a candidate in the council by-election in September.

Timaru businessman Nigel Bowen puts his hat in the ring for council by-election.

Southland

Strip and dip at Winter Fest video

A bright orange birdman leaps from the wharf on Queenstown's lakefront.

Scene of unseasonal jollity unfolds on Queenstown's lakefront as near-nude men and women fall over one another and rafts lose crew.

Pet dog shot dead

Max's owner found his body on Friday evening near the front gate of their property.

"Playful, friendly" labrador found dead at home with a bullet in his chest.

He Tauaa make it five

Jaavan Fa'amoe-Ioane was part of He Tauaa's 2017 grand final victory over Cowboys.

He Tauaa has won their fifth Southland club rugby league title in a row.

3 generations, 1 rugby team video

Grandfather Mackie Thompson, his son Colin, and grandson Cullen.

Grandad plays in the loose forwards, his son's at halfback and grandson is in the outside backs.

Ad Feedback