Meet the 2018 Youth Advisory Group

We asked the members of the 2018 Youth Advisory Group to tell us a bit about themselves in their own words.

Costa Blackman, Tolaga Bay Area School, Tolaga Bay

Costa Blackman, Tolaga Bay Area School, Tolaga Bay.

Ka titiro whakarunga au ki tōku maunga tipuna a Tītīrangi
E pa ana ki te maunga tapu a Hikurangi.

Ka rongo au i nga wairere o tōku awa a Ūawa-nui-a-Ruamatua
E waiata ana ki te awa tapu a Waiapu.

He uri ahau no Hauiti, no Porourangi.
Ko Costa Blackman tōku ingoa.

Tēnā koutou katoa.

My name is Costa Blackman. I am 16 years old.

I speak both Te Reo Māori and English, and attend Tolaga Bay Area School and Kahukuranui.

I am a qualified surf lifeguard at Ūawa Tiaki Tai - Tolaga Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, I surf, and am the Ūawa Youth Advisory Group’s chairperson.

I am a kaihaka representing Te Aitanga a Hauiti iwi and have achieved Pouwha - Tama Whakaara in traditional Māori weaponry in Te Whare Tu Tauā o Kahukuranui/Aotearoa.

Na reira,
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa. 

Watene Campbell, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna, Wellington

Watene Campbell, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna, Wellington.

E tipu e rea mō ngā rā o tō ao
Ko tō ringa ki ngā rākau a te Pākehā
Hei oranga mō tō tinana
Ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga a ō tīpuna
Hei tikitiki mō tō mahunga ...

Kei ngā kārangarangatanga maha o te motu, tēnei te mihi kau atu nei ki a koutou katoa.  He uri tēnei nō Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa me Ngāti Kahungunu.  Ko Watene Campbell tōku ingoa. I attend Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna based in Seatoun, Wellington. I am excited about being a part of the Youth Advisory Group and am passionate about actively engaging and ensuring the voices and experiences of rangatahi are heard, towards building a better future.  Sports I enjoy include Waka Ama, Basketball and Rugby and when I leave school, I hope to study law at university just like my tīpuna, Tā Apirana Ngata. 

Mauriora e te whānau!

Brodie Cross, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu | Correspondence School, Christchurch

Brodie Cross, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu | Correspondence School, Christchurch.

Kia ora tatou. My name is Brodie Cross. I’m a Secondary School student with Cerebral Palsy. I was born in Dunedin but have been raised in Christchurch since then. I have a strong passion for the educational areas of qualifications and modern learning strategies. From 2006-2010, I represented the Foundation of Conductive Education as a student ambassador, to which I met many people with different opinions and experiences. I look forward to being a voice for youth in 2018 and hope that I can help make a difference. I believe that all students deserve a chance, no matter what their possibilities in life may be.

Nathan Farr, King’s High School, Dunedin

Nathan Farr, King’s High School, Dunedin.

Kia ora! I'm Nathan, I’m year 12 at King's High School in Dunedin. I’m originally from Waiuku in Franklin and since moving from Waiuku, I have been to six schools to date. I have been able to experience all kinds of teaching styles. I want to bring my experiences to the table to try and better structure the education system. I have been lucky enough to have been selected to be part of the 2018 Youth Advisory Group. I was so ecstatic when I received the email informing me of my selection. I'm passionate about students who have learning difficulties like myself and making sure they can reach their full potential. I'm also passionate about youth wellbeing and making sure that there is a review of how students are currently assessed and making sure education is individualized to make sure that everyone can reach their full potential. I'm looking forward to working with other young people who are also passionate about education.

Shaneel Lal, Otahuhu College, South Auckland

Shaneel Lal, Otahuhu College, South Auckland.

Verb/verb/verb. I was born twice, once in a small public hospital in Fiji to my biological mother then to Mother Monster behind an old abandoned amusement park. Since early childhood, I've been brown, awkward and very very tall.

I am just another guy who aspires to become a billionaire based on morality. My likes include white fur, unconditional love, four paws and many other unimportant things. My dislikes include Donald Trump, papercuts and war.

Every day, everything is changing but still I like to believe that I am the next black Mark Zuckerberg in the making. After all, I have been preparing for this all my life by being a librarian, peace ambassador and a great second alternate for student representative.

Being a student at Otahuhu College, I have been given many opportunities to prepare myself for the strange reality. I have written some articles you have probably read and hopefully enjoyed: Learning Auckland, Education Today and my personal diary, among million others. Currently eatin'.

"Innovation is the new solution; I want to see new things in our Education. Anyone can make a change so it might else well be me. No more moving upwards, downwards and backwards, only forward."

Liam McLeavey, Waiopehu College, Levin

Liam McLeavey, Waiopehu College, Levin.

I was born and bred in the Horowhenua and attend Waiopehu College in Levin. Within the College, I am a member of the school's Student Executive, and I have previously served as the Student Trustee on the Board. In 2015, at age 15, I was appointed to serve as a member of the District’s Education Executive, Education Horowhenua.

I have a vision that all young people between the ages of 12 and 24 are engaged in meaningful education, training or employment and have the resources available to make informed choices leading to a prosperous future.

In 2016, at age 16, I co-founded Pathways Horowhenua, a service that connects young people to education and employment opportunities. I have been employed as the Service Manager of Pathways Horowhenua. I work with young people, business owners and education leaders to turn my vision into a reality.

I am passionate about co-creating solutions that deliver quality outcomes for all.

Abby McRoberts, Victoria University, Wellington

Abby McRoberts, Aotea College, Porirua.

Hiya! I’m Abby McRoberts and I am studying at Victoria University of Wellington. I’m super excited to be a member of the Youth Advisory Group for 2018 and to take part in the Online Youth Forum. I can't wait to hear the insights from people all across NZ and to share my own. I'm passionate about student voice and students being involved in decision making with teachers and staff, to ensure processes in school and education reflect what students need. I'm also passionate about student wellbeing, making sure students know the importance of looking after our wellbeing so we are able to achieve what we want to achieve. I’m looking forward to the great discussions to come. 

Kate Morris, Darfield High School, Darfield

Kate Morris, Darfield High School, Darfield.

Hey! My name is Kate, and I'm year 12 at Darfield High School. I love learning, especially science, history, and French.  At school, I'm on the student council, a librarian, a peer mediator, a cultural ambassador, I learn bass guitar, and I even tried football once. Outside of school I dance, perform with the local musical theatre company, go tramping with my family, and work at the local bakery. One of the highlights (and biggest challenges) of my year was going on a two month exchange to France, where I attended school, stayed with a host family, and ate unhealthy amounts of baguette. I'm super excited about this opportunity to be a voice for youth and to bring our issues and ideas to the table. I'm also really looking forward to working with the other members of the Advisory Group and sharing our different experiences and perspectives.

Geniqua Samupo, Avondale College, West Auckland

Geniqua Samupo, Avondale College, West Auckland

Fakalofa lahi atu my name is Geniqua Samupo. I am a proud 17-year-old Niuean who attends Avondale College in West Auckland. My family and friends are important to me and are the inspiration/motivation, females in particular played a major part, in my life. I abide by my family values that have been constantly a reminder to me that hard work never goes unnoticed and that the result in the end will be worth it. Education is also equally important to me as it should be to all youth today as we are the future. I believe that knowing where I’ve been and where I plan to go has helped me decide what kind of person I am now. The role of becoming a youth advisory member is an honour and rewarding as this enables me to try and make a difference in education, especially for pacific peoples. 

Okirano Tilaia, Cashmere High School, Christchurch

Okirano Tilaia, Cashmere High School, Christchurch

My name is Okirano Tilaia, I’m a year 12 at Cashmere High School and of Samoan decent. I was born in 2002; the year of the horse. The element of Horse is Fire (Huo), symbolizing enthusiasm and energy. The animal gives people an impression of independence and integrity, also making unremitting efforts to improve themselves with passion and diligence. I have a strong sense of my Pacifica roots which I have learnt to cherish and value. I enjoy playing basketball and have had the opportunity to represent my school, Canterbury, and New Zealand. In school, I love history and developing a spectrum of perspectives about past historic events. More importantly, I have a passion to help people locally and internationally; a value I have learnt from my supporting parents. I want Pacifica youth to have a voice in the New Zealand education system to succeed and have the freedom to lead.

Hadassah Wharawhara, Te Kāpehu Whetū, Kerikeri

Hadassah Wharawhara, Te Kāpehu Whetū, Kerikeri

Ko Maungataniwha te maunga
Ko Mangamuka te awa
Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua te waka
Ko Te Ihutai te hapū
Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi

Ko Hadassah Wharawhara tōku ingoa
Ko Reuben tōku pāpā
Ko Tiana tōku māmā
Ko Maia te mātāmua
Ko Tainui taku tungāne
Ko Pele taku tuakana
Ko Israel te pōtiki
Ko Kerikeri tōku kāinga
Tekau mā ono ōku tau 

I’m a year 13 student at Te Kāpehu Whetū in Whangārei. I like kapa haka, sports and cooking.

I’m very excited to be a part of the Youth Advisory Group and am looking forward to making a meaningful contribution to it on behalf of my school and Te Tai Tokerau.

Bevan Penn, Victoria University, Wellington

Bevan Xiao, Long Bay College, Auckland

I was born in Hawke's Bay and mainly grew up in Auckland. I was a Year 13 student last year, achieved NCEA Level 3 with an Excellence Endorsement, and am an incoming university student, most likely majoring in Law and Economics. I bring experience from both NCEA and the Cambridge International Examinations system and took six NCEA Level 3 subjects. My extensive community service earned me an award at the NZ Top Youth Awards Ceremony 2017. I am especially passionate about technology, research and innovation in education, and making a quality and personalised education accessible for every young New Zealander.

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