Te Arawa youth prepare for royal visit

A group of Māori youth involved in raising awareness around mental health will be meeting Prince Harry and wife Meghan tomorrow in Te Ao Marama Church Hall, Rotorua. 

Wharehuia Evans, Te Mahara Swanson Hall and Hana Tapiata are excited about the upcoming event.

“Pretty crazy that they have taken the time to come to Rotorua, to talk to us as young Māori who are passionate about the kaupapa of mental health awareness” says Swanson Hall.

She is currently studying at Victory University and has come home after being selected to speak to the royal couple about a project she did on mental illness.

“I didn't really realise how big of an issue it was until I left, moved away from home and saw so many of our whānau and friends suffering from mental health issues and for me it was something that could not be ignored.” 

The group says having someone like Prince Harry come to NZ and talk about these issues has the potential to help others.

“What they have told us is that we are the voice of the youth in our community so we are representing our community, hapū and tribe,” says Tapiata.

For Evans, the event will be a second brush with royalty.

“I was fortunate to meet Prince Andrew when he came here.  We released kiwi on Mokoia.”

The Duke and Duchess are due to land in Rotorua at 11am tomorrow.