Good Practices

Introducing The YEA Rangatahi Māori Writer

 Written by Abby Buckthought

The Rangatahi Māori Writer project sees Youth Employability Aotearoa tapping into their invaluable networks to utilise the talent of New Zealand’s youth as they create stories for rangatahi, by rangatahi, in partnership with Māoriland Charitable Trust.

Māoriland presents, supports, and facilitates indigenous creatives in storytelling. Originally, this was through film, their Kaupapa originating with the Māoriland film festival, though this has now evolved to a year-round programme of industry focused endeavours such as Māoriland Tech Creative Hub (MATCH), NATIVE minds, Toi Matarau, and much more.

Project managers Madeline Hakaraia de Young, also the Kaiwhakahau Hōtaka at Māoriland, and Aree Kapa, the Kairuruku Rangatahi at Māoriland, are elated to be embarking on another step of their journey in empowering Māori youth.

The project seeks to tell the stories of Māori providers producing positive outcomes in youth employability, through a rangatahi Māori perspective, informing, teaching, and inspiring other providers as these successes are celebrated. There is certainly no shortage of cause for celebration.

Madeline, self-described ‘support person, feeder, and driver’ of the project, affirms that “there’s so much excitement and so many small wins happening in the space, and it’s not often celebrated, you tend to hear negative or one-off stories, so I hope we can bring more attention to that, change the perspective of what we can achieve, and also change understandings for other rangatahi so they can see there’s whole world of opportunity out there; they don’t necessarily have to aspire to be a Taika or a rugby player, those one-offs, they can actually be something incredible of their own because there’s hundreds of other people like them doing really awesome stuff.”

Coordinating members of Ngā Pakiaka, Māoriland’s collective of indigenous rangatahi filmmakers, Aree ensures the delivery of content as she acts as the producer, supporting members to find and shape their stories for the project as they embrace their talents to create one-minute videos accompanying written articles. Overseeing ten writers spread out across Aotearoa, she says “what’s exciting is hearing about other providers where our rangatahi are, and it’s a nice way for our rangatahi to keep working their creative muscle.”

She emphasises the value of collaboration, not only with other organisations but within Māoriland, describing the Tuakana-Teina model they utilise which recognises the capabilities of both more and less experienced individuals, serving to uplift and improve the organisation. “Our values are shown in how we work,” says Aree, supported by Madeline, who explains “it comes back to trusting in the process and being open to new tikanga.”

The writer project certainly reflects such values – as Aree asserts, it is “by youth, for youth.” Advocating for youth voices in the employability space is crucial as “you can’t see what you can’t see, and when Māori rangatahi do see someone else doing something, it might trigger a new idea of their own or inspire them to go out and do something – our young people are capable beyond our wildest imaginings” says Madeline.

Elevating rangatahi Māori perspectives and insights will prove crucial in expanding the body of knowledge of what good youth employability practice looks like in Aotearoa, reforming the future of the space.

Aree and Madeline, along with the entire Māoriland team, are excited to broaden their networks and knowledge, empower rangatahi Māori and make them feel valued, and ultimately, to contribute to bettering the future of youth employability.