Te Uma o Te Kona - A safe haven for Kaikohe rangatahi

Te Uma o Te Kona rangatahi. Image/Facebook

The Northland town of Kaikohe is in high spirits knowing their new youth centre, Te Uma o Te Kona, will open next week. 

The name Te Uma o Te Kona was specifically chosen by the rangatahi of the town. It pays homage to Te Kona, mother of prominent Ngāpuhi leader, Hone Heke and her maternal nature to provide safety, counsel and comfort.  It is hoped that her characteristics will permeate through the centre. 

Kaikohe youth representative, 16-year-old Wikitoria Watene-Kowhai is excited about the new youth centre knowing that rangatahi will now have a space to go and will be looked after.

The centre will support youth aged 12-24 yrs and will be run by Te Kotahitanga e Mahi Kaha Trust, a Kaikohe community organisation with priorities of improving youth health, education and employment readiness.

This community and youth-lead initiative will transform a currently unused retail space into a bright, creative, multi-functional facility that will deliver a variety of events, programmes and support services for youth.

Trust chairperson Aroha Tahere says, “Youth in Kaikohe told us they want this space to be fun, cool, friendly and safe. That’s why they’re actively involved in designing what the space will look like, the activities, resources and support available and even the list of personal qualities they want for kaimahi”.

Kaikohe Community and Youth Centre Trust

The centre is an innovative collaboration between the local community, iwi and regional organisations to encourage youth and community–driven solutions to support, encourage, inspire the young people of Kaikohe. These organisations include the Kaikohe Community and Youth Centre Trust, Te Rūnanga ā Iwi o Ngāpuhi, the Northland Social Wellbeing Governance Group’s Place Based Initiatives (Kāinga Ora), and the government’s Regional Growth Programme.

The opening ceremony centre for the centre is on Monday 14 August at 10.30am at 135 Broadway, Kaikohe, and an open invitation is extended to all.

For more, you can check out their Facebook page.