The Maori Party is hosting the Aotearoa Rangatahi Wananga to help it develop a policy to address issues facing the younger generation.
Facilitators Tina Porou and Stephen Te Moni said they wanted youth to realise they had the ability to make a difference by voicing their opinions and concerns.
The wananga ends today at Ruamata Marae.
“Our youth are amazingly intelligent and understand the spaces and places they inhabit,” Ms Porou said.
“We as the Maori Party will listen to ensure we reflect their aspirations and voices and provide the vehicle for change in our communities. This wananga is a catalyst for that change.”
Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples said it would not only be young people who would be inspired.
“They say the old inspire the young but we actually think it will be the other way around,” Mrs Turia said.
The wananga focuses on two kaupapa – to develop a “for rangatahi by rangatahi policy” and to teach young people how to harness the power of social networking and online media for the benefit of kaupapa Maori.
“The voices of our youth are no longer gathering in traditional places,” said Ms Porou.
“They are in the chatrooms, using social networking and creating movements that reflect the issues that drive and impact their everyday lives; we need to be part of that movement.”
Cherie Kurarangi-Sweeney, the woman behind a campaign urging people to speak out against child abuse, is a guest speaker at the wananga.
Organisers expect the outcome of the wananga to be positive.
“The rangatahi will feel that they have been heard and listened to,” Ms Porou said.
At least 10 young people from each of the seven Maori electorates are expected to attend.
Today they will go head-to-head in a debate with Mrs Turia and Dr Sharples as well as with Maori Party MPs Te Ururoa Flavell and Rahui Katene.
TangataWhenua.com understands that rangatahi supporters of the Mana Movement will also be there, so no doubt the korero will be interesting indeed.