Children make documentary for adults

MICHELLE DUFF
Last updated 05:00 19/07/2012

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Drinking makes them nervous, they shouldn't have to walk on smashed bottles and they would like to make sure that every family has a safe house, please.

A group of Lower Hutt children think adults should take their responsibilities seriously, and have spent a year putting together a documentary to get the message across.

With the support of Regional Public Health, the 8 to 15-year-olds from the suburb of Pomare have spoken out about issues that matter to them - such as the damage alcohol can do to a family, and how important it is to have a nice house.

Around 60 children studied the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to find out what they were entitled to, before brainstorming ideas about how New Zealand could be a better place for kids to live.

They composed skits, poems, letters and artwork for inclusion in the 20-minute documentary Rise UP!to be released next week.

Pomare School pupil Malachi Rangi, 9, studied Article 36, the right for children to be protected.

"That's the right for adults not to sit up and drink, no-one drinking around me and no bottles smashed," he said.

Adults drinking made him feel "nervous", he said.

The children decided adults should drink only at Christmas, on special occasions, and never on Sunday "because you have to drop your kids off to school on Monday", fellow pupil Kaisa Fa'atui, 12, said.

Many of the children in the documentary had lost their previous homes, after 89 state houses in the centre of Pomare were demolished in 2011 and they were relocated. Lots of them felt gutted, Kaisa said.

"I felt sad, I liked my house," Malachi said. "I felt confused, and the park looked lonely."

Regional Public Health adviser Deborah Gough said health issues such as housing and alcohol directly affected children, and the documentary was a way they could have their voices heard.

THE VOICE OF THE YOUNG

I have the right to have fun

I have the right to speak about stuff

I have the right to protest

I have the right to be safe while walking down the street

I have the right not to be neglected I have the right to learn

I have the right to be looked after by an adult

I have the right to be loved and cared for

I have the right to be respected

I have the right to a good education

I have the right to be myself

I have the right to speak my mind about things

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- The Dominion Post

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