Rangatahi Summit brings Whanganui youth together

By Te Ao Māori News

Whanganui's succession plan continues as the 18th annual Rangatahi Summit takes place in Raetihi, bringing more than 60 youth together.

Te Raukohi, a forum for youth, strengthening relationships between Whanganui descendants.

Ngāti Patutokotoko, Ngāti Hekeāwai descendant Hayden Turoa says, “The purpose of this wānanga is to nurture our youth within themselves, through the values of our predecessors."

Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngā Paerangi descendant Tamahaia Skinner says, “For building relationships, there's no better platform than Te Raukotahi.”

The term 'Te Raukotahi' stems from the saying, 'Come and go not as a singular identity but as one who is a culmination of all those who were before you, all those that stand at your side and all those who will follow after you.'

Elijah Pue of Ngāti Rangi and Ngāti Uenuku says,"A person can stand alone, but behind them are hundreds of people.”

The summit is connecting youth to their ancestral lands and continuing the transfer of knowledge, both old and new.

Turoa says, “It's important for these kids to know that they're from here, from Ruapehu, from Te Wainuiārua and from Whanganui as a whole."

Skinner says his hope for Whanganui youth is that they “Work hard in everything, no matter what it may be.”

“Whether it's a prayer or a song, youth need to be confident in their delivery of these protocols,” adds Pue.

The Rangatahi Summit was established in 1999. This year’s summit brought more than 60 youth together. Youth visited various ancestral sites and engaged in various activities including skiing on Mount Ruapehu and hiking at Lake Rotokura.

Skinner says, “At the end of the week these kids have really bonded.”

“Our genealogical and philosophical knowledge will live within the generations to come,” adds Turoa.

The next step for Whanganui's succession plan is to hold an annual summit, not only for youth but for the next generation up.