'Stop the talk and get on with the job' - Tūhoe activist Tame Iti

By Hinewai Netana-Williams

By Hinewai Netana-Williams, Te Rito journalism cadet

Youth crime is making headlines almost every night. Youth across Auckland are being caught up in theft, aggravated robbery and assault.

“Let's not just talk about the issues, we have to do something about them,” veteran Tūhoe activist Tame Iti says.

Iti says rangatahi are feeling pressure, and it’s leading them astray. 

“Do away with Pākehā food systems,” Iti says. 

Iti has teamed up with 2022 Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year David Letele, an Auckland community worker, to work with youth across the region and inspire and encourage a positive lifestyle. 

“There’s work to do and no one to do it,” Letele says. 

Letele is excited about working with Iti, who is a long-serving community advocate and activist. 

“The more youth that are exposed to people like him, the better it is for our youth to show what’s possible.” 

Letele says there is a disconnect between society and the youths at the centre of the discussion. 

“Really rich people have absolutely no idea what’s happening for us down here, whats happening with you guys.” 

The pair hope that reconnecting rangatahi to their atua and their whenua will help guide them.  

Iti says, “it’s not only about putting your hand up to help, it’s about getting in and working with youth for better outcomes.”