Two Kawerau youths will feature as panelists at the national Festival for the Future in Wellington.
Iraia Nuku and Whaiora Patrick were nominated by youth workers in Kawerau to speak at the festival.
It will be a new experience for Whaiora Patrick, who will be attending for the first time.
“The reason why I got chosen for that specific panel is because growing up I had experience with child poverty. I've had family members and friends who were also the same.”
Festival for the Future is an annual event which supports young New Zealanders to connect and discuss major issues affecting young people including suicide and governance.
Iraia Nuku, of Kawerau, who will also be attending the event says, “I just want to be a person who youth look up to, who they can say 'nothing stopped him from achieving his goal'...I let nothing stop myself so that's what I want youth to see in me.”
In 2013, Iraia joined the Kawerau Youth Council. The 18-year-old and will be speaking about youth governance and engagement at the festival.
“It's been the most awesome decision I could ever make. It's allowed me to progress in communication skills, leadership skills and other skills needed as a voice for someone from Kawerau.”
Whaiora is a mental health advocate and will be speaking about child poverty.
“Being a young Māori- young female Māori I should say- from Kawerau, I want my voice along with other young people's voices to finally be noticed by those who are in power.”
The Festival for the Future will take place in Wellington on the 27 to the 29th of this month.