Raising the voices of young people in Tai Tokerau

Monday 6 June 2022

Raising our Voice - The Design School - 18 May 2022 (19)-2.jpg

A new digital platform is being developed by Mahitahi Hauora in collaboration with health, social and local government agencies through the Northland Intersectoral Forum to raise the voices of young people in Tai Tokerau. 

The platform will allow for rapid crowd-sourcing of child and youth needs and aspirations, as well as advice and co-design consultation on proposed youth projects. In the initial stages, it will seek to gain youth perspective across a broad range of health, social, and environmental topics.

Mahitahi Hauora Project Manager Maddie Drewery said information collected would be used to support the development and delivery of youth-centred services across Tai Tokerau. 

"It's well known that taitamariki in Tai Tokerau face challenges that can have a significant impact on wellbeing and resilience. The rapid crowdsourcing of youth voice will allow us to build a deeper understanding of young people's aspirations, strengths, barriers, and how the experience being taitamariki in Tai Tokerau. The more understanding we have, the more effectively we can address the challenges and provide responsive and targeted services."

Maddie said the initiative was influenced by lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Many services were rolling out support strategies that affected tamariki, but they did not have the ability to reach out to tamariki to understand what their preferences were or how services should be delivered. That meant some strategies were ineffective, underused, or did not reach the people who needed them most."

Information would initially be collected from 16-24 year olds, but the project would look to expand to collect the voices of taitamariki aged 15 and under in the future. The platform will allow for feedback to be given as pictures, video, or sound recordings to ensure taitamariki across all levels of literacy can participate.

"It'll be a safe, anonymous platform where all opinions can be heard. By creating an engaging platform for the youth voice we aim to address persistent issues in youth consultation," Maddie said.

Taitamariki are involved in developing the platform to ensure it is engaging for young people, with students of The Design School in Whangārei creating the branding and marketing. 

The Design School Tutor Phillip Hetaraka said graphic design students aged 16-24 years were vying to create the best logo in a fun, competitive process that would earn them credits and exposure, as well as giving them real-world experience of working with a client. 

"The students are very passionate and excited to show off their work. They love what they're doing, and it's building their confidence, experience and skills," he said. 

Once the logo is chosen at the end of May, the students will progress to create a marketing package to support the platform's launch, with a four-month pilot expected later this year.