Māori youth prepare for indigenous conference at White House

By Harata Brown

Tonight, four Māori youth are flying out to Washington DC for an indigenous conference based at the White House established by American President Barack Obama.

One representative says he's looking forward to better understanding the solutions of Native American youth.

Ezekiel Raui is gearing up for a trip of a lifetime.

Raui says, “There will be many issues covered over there, like different youth perspectives.”

Raui's younger sister was seen this morning preparing gifts for the trip.  Mum Vanessa says when news broke that her son will get to meet the American President, she just couldn't believe it.

“He told me, "Mum, I'm going to meet Barack Obama". I thought, no way, and it turned out to be true.  No words can describe how fortunate he is.”

Raui will travel with three others; Tayla Rose Campbell, Conor O'Sullivan and Moerangi Vercoe.

They will join many other young Native Americans and will provide feedback to the President about the problems they face in their communities.

Raui says, “I hope to better understand the Native Americans and further examine the differences between their youth and us.”

The Tribal Youth Gathering is part of the Generation Indigenous initiative established by Obama which hopes to improve the lives of young Native Americans.

The Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs will host the Māori delegation for a week.