Ministerial Youth Advisory Group

Learn about the Ministerial Youth Advisory Group and its members.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Young people
  • Parents, caregivers and whānau
  • Principals and tumuaki
  • Teachers and kaiako
  • Community organisations

Children and young people are at the heart of our education system. They have a right to participate, be heard and have their opinions considered in decisions that affect them.

Applications have closed

Recruitment for the 2023 Ministerial Youth Advisory Group (YAG) has now closed.

Thank you to those who've applied. Our team will contact applicants about the result and we'll update this page once the new members are selected.

Purpose of the Youth Advisory Group

  • A way for New Zealand youth to share their experiences and perspectives on education with the Minister of Education.
  • Members bring their insights to the Ministry of Education to help inform how we work and improve the education system. 

Meet the Ministerial Youth Advisory Group

Te Atamihi Papa

14, Otorohanga

Te AtamihiNoo Waikato-Maniapoto 

Noo Ngaati Koroki-Kahukura me Ngaati  

Pou Rahui ahau.

Kia ora, my name is Te Atamihi Vivienne Papa. I'm 15 and a year 12 student at Te Wharekura o Maniapoto. I'm a kahika (prefect) at my kura and am a co-student representative to our Board of Trustees. 

I have been brought up and enriched in my maori culture through the Kiingitanga. Returning regularly to my marae, to Kiingitanga events, attending Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa and Wharekura has enabled me to embrace all cultures and communities in Aotearoa. 

It is my hope that rangatahi can provide fresh and vibrant ideas, such as including maramataka maori (lunar calendar), and trying to include maori philosophy in the way we teach so that it remains relevant in our world. 

I'm grateful for the opportunity to be included in the Minister’s Youth Advisory Group. I hope to use this opportunity to connect with others and create more ideas for the betterment of the education system.  

“Ko te manu e kai i te miro, noona te ngaahere. Ko te manu e kai i te maatauranga noona te ao.” 

“The forest birds partake of the miro berries, but the birds that partake of education, theirs is the world.” 

Harshinni Nayyar

15, Whangārei

HarshinniNamaste/Kia Ora, 

My name is Harshinni. Harshinni means bringing a smile; that is what I love doing. I am a Year 11 student attending Whangarei Girls High School. I am blessed to have a twin to share my successes and failures. I am 15 years old, have lived in three diverse countries, and studied in seven private, charter and state schools. I am fortunate to have enjoyed an enriching experience with contrasting education systems and social and cultural values. Although, as an Indian and gifted learner, I have faced challenges and obstacles in my learning path. However, these challenges assisted me to gain resilience and 

perseverance. I am passionate about promoting progressive changes to the educational environment where we are proud to be ourselves regardless of gender, ethnicity and race. 

I am excited to join the YAG team and appreciate the opportunity to become the voice of new immigrant students in NZ so that their learning experience is positive and worthwhile. 

Eniselini Ali

17, Auckland (via regional Ministry YAG representation)

EniseliniMalo e Lelei, my name is Eniselini Ali, I am 17 years of age and a year 12 attending Marcellin College in Auckland. A little bit about myself; I am a proud daughter of Tongan immigrants and the first generation in my entire family to be born and raised in Aotearoa. I enjoy any literature subjects, performing arts (specifically joining cultural groups), and I have a strong passion for studying law and international politics in the University of Auckland after next year. The main reason why I want to join the National Advisory Group is because I have many relatives who are yet to reach NCEA, and I hope to see them strive for success and excellence in the hands of an education system that supports and caters to their academic needs. Not only do I hope for my family members to gain such support, but for all the future learners and successors of New Zealand.  

With having the privilege to be educated in Aotearoa, I have a strong passion in changing the way our education system caters to its students; more specifically the BIPOC youth community financially, academically, mentally and spiritually. The main issues I am personally targeting are the importance of mental health, subjects that allow students who balance work and school (especially through the disruptions of covid) to be able to gain credits and have a flexible schedule that caters to their education and to their families needs. I also want to improve/implement better funding catering for updated resource books and practical materials for students attending low decile high schools, so every high school gives an equal amount of learning opportunities regarding every student's academic possibilities. All these issues have been brought to my attention from my own personal experiences, and I hope that when I am able to work alongside such a powerful youth group, we as a country can bring forth better learning opportunities for the upcoming generation of young learners.  

I want to thank the Minister of Education, the Auckland Youth Advisory Group, my family and my people for getting me to where I am now. I hope that the ideas and changes we put forward as a group will inspire at least 1 student to make big moves regardless of what they have to say and wherever their voices are shared. I also hope that in taking this step, I become a vessel to all the young learners of Aotearoa and the Pacific and become a better leader and student for my people and those that are yet to come.  

‘aupito, ‘Otua ‘ofa ‘atu.  

Malakai Tahaafe

17, Christchurch

MalakaiKo Whetumatarau tōku maunga, 

Ko Awatere tōku awa,

Ko Horouta tōku waka,

Ko Te Whānau a Hinerupe tōku Hapū,

Ko Hinerupe tōku Marae,

Ko Ngāti Porou, ko Ngāti Hamoa, ko Ngāti Tonga tōku iwi,

Ko Te Kura ō Ngā Tamatane ō Ōtautahi tōku kura,

No Ōtautahi ahau,

Ko Malakai ‘Ilamekiteau Tahaafe tōku ingoa,

E ngā mana tēnā koutou kātoa, Mālō e lelei, Talofa lava and Warm Pasifika Greetings. My name is Malakai, and I am a Year 12 student at Christchurch Boys’ High School in Christchurch.

Growing up in Christchurch, I have experienced education in ways that could never have been imagined! Being displaced from our home during the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, meant that my siblings and I for the first time, had to be home-schooled while our family lived out of a Holiday Park. In 2019, I experienced for the first time, a scary city-wide lockdown during school that lasted well into the night, when the tragic Mosque shootings occurred, and my school was near the Al Noor Mosque where the shootings began. From 2020, I experienced for the first time, online learning, remote learning, zoom/team’s meetings, mass numbers of teachers and students away sick and raised anxieties, feelings of isolation and uncertainty from both students and adults in my school because of Covid. Some of the struggles I have witnessed include students having to drop out of school because of low attendance due to their parent(s) losing their jobs through being unvaccinated, boys not being able to afford proper equipment for their schooling, a lack of focus on mental well-being and suicide prevention, discrimination, and racism.

To do my part and explicitly raise awareness of the issues that matter most, I am a member on the International Committee, Wellbeing Committee, Student Executive, Student Forum, Pasifika Group, and Pasifika Voices Group. In my community, I am a member of The Christchurch Foundation “Generation Give Programme” that believes young people should have a chance to make a difference in their community and the Honourable Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch is the patron of this initiative, and I am a young men’s representative in the youth programme of my church.

I am honoured to have been selected to be a member of the Ministry’s Youth Advisory Group and as the only member from the South Island, I hope to be an advocate and catalyst for the change necessary to ensure that no matter who you are, where you live or how in Aotearoa, we will all enjoy excellent and equitable outcomes through an education and schooling system that represents us.   

Ahakoa he mihi poto, he mihi aroha tenei, tēnā koutou katoa.

Daisy Tumataroa

17, Taumarunui

Daisy YAGKo Ruapehu te maunga
Ko Makotuku te awa
Ko Aotea te waka
Ko Raetihi te tūrangawaewae
Ko Te Puke me Mangamingi ngā marae
Ko Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi me Ngāti Rangi me Uenuku ngā iwi
Ko Daisy Tumataroa tōku ingoa

Kia ora, my name is Daisy Jae Tumataroa and I am a Year 13 student attending Taumarunui High School. I am a prefect and the student representative of our school board.

I was born and raised in small-town Raetihi in the central North Island near Mount Ruapehu. I am a curious person who enjoys obtaining new knowledge from pretty much anything. I have a passion for using my voice and fighting for what's right. I have a strong belief that education is the key to empowering people.

At Taumarunui High School we use an innovative big picture learning model and I enjoy putting forward new ideas and opinions for the future improvement of our educational system.

I am so thankful and blessed for the opportunity that has been given to me as a member of the Ministerial Youth Advisory Group and I look forward to the achievements of our team in 2022.

Jayden van Dyk

15, Hamilton

Jayden YAGHi, my name is Jayden van Dyk. I'm 15 and I live in Hamilton.

I have been fortunate enough to have attended a small rural high-decile primary school and a low-decile small middle school in the city where I was deputy head boy. In 2022 I’ll be a Year 12 student at Fairfield College.

I have an ultra-rare genetic disorder KBG syndrome that has meant I have needed specialist support in education at different times. But I've never let that be an excuse not to fully participate in everything and sport is my equaliser where I'm just like any other 15-year-old boy.

I believe my experiences in different types of schooling allow me to be an asset to the Youth Advisory Group and I enjoy being able to have an impact.

Harlow Tran-Lawrence

17, Taranaki 

Harlow YAGMy name is Harlow Tran-Lawrence and in 2022 I’ll be located in Auckland, studying Global Studies at Auckland University. I am queer nonbinary and of mixed and Vietnamese descent.

I graduated Spotswood College in Taranaki during 2021 and have a strong background in rainbow advocacy and working with queer youth. My areas of passion focus on inclusivity of minority communities, mental health and LGBT+, POC and BIPOC issues. I’ve had the privilege of being a part of the YAG for two years and am excited to carry my mahi through into 2022 for my last year in the group.

Tanin Cain

16, Auckland

Tanin YAGMy name is Tanin. I’m 16, I’m NZ Māori/European and live in South Auckland. Last year at school was a bit bumpy but I found my feet towards the end. I’ve always struggled in state schools, they don’t quite fit with how my brain works. I’m really looking forward to this year – I will be home schooling with my younger brothers and doing part-time Te Kura. My goal is to be a game developer, which I will be focusing on heavily this year. YAG is exciting, our voices are heard and I feel like we’re making a real difference.

Find out about the Youth Advisory Group expectations and responsibilities

Advisory Group terms of reference

Further information

If you have questions about the Youth Advisory Group email: 

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