OTOROHANGA mayor Max Baxter says learning from young people is a valuable tool for leading the district. He recently selected two local youth to participate in the annual Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs leadership programme called TUIA, which involves mayors throughout the country choosing young Maori from their district to mentor on a one-on-one basis.
The programme’s motto: “With the right support and the right opportunities, these young leaders could, in time, become drivers of social and economic change in their respective communities.”
In Otorohanga they are University of Waikato student Tori Koroheke (21) and service station attendant Eru Taane (22).
Mr Baxter says he is looking forward to the journey with Tori and Eru who are both great role models. “They both have a lot of passion and I believe they will be really valuable for mentoring other young Maori in our community and I certainly believe they’ll get a heck of a lot out of the vision, beliefs and passion that the other rangatahi will be able to share with them throughout the year.”
Aside from one-on-one mentoring, the mayor and rangatahi attend four wananga throughout the year to network with other participants on the programme.
They also meet monthly to provide an opportunity for Mr Baxter to better understand the youth leaders’ world view as young Maori while providing the young leaders with opportunities to explore local government and civic leadership.
“The TUIA programme is all about sharing different values, theirs and mine, so we can both grow from the experience,” says Mr Baxter.
“Although their formal involvement is only for one year, the vision is that they’ll come back and continue to mentor our young people and it becomes a lifelong commitment.”