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Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has played a significant role in the first Te Matatini Youth Leadership Programme, held at Apumoana Marae in Rotorua last week. 

More than 40 rangatahi from around the country – identified as leaders within their kapa haka roopu, kura and communities - were selected to take part in the week-long pilot project. 

Led by SME Youth Development Jade Chase and Marketing Coordinator Hera Te Kurapa, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa hosted the participants for one day of the programme, facilitating workshops on personality types, leadership, innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.  

The rangatahi enjoyed the Innovation Hub led by Kane Milne and were inspired by local Māori entrepreneurs such as clothing designer Adrienne Whitewood and Pipi Mā founder Kristin Ross.  A Shark Tank design thinking session followed, where the rangatahi were able to develop and present their innovative business ideas to a panel of Māori entrepreneurs.  Business ideas included edible cutlery, recycled plastic kitset homes, translation headphones and fragrant clothing.

Jade says it was an excellent opportunity to showcase what else Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has to offer young people, particularly those who aspire to be leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs.

“They were an awesome bunch of rangatahi with a massive amount of potential both in leadership and business.  They left with a greater understanding of themselves and their inherent capabilities, business and leadership skills as well as knowing what Te Wānanga o Aotearoa could potentially offer them.  I think they really enjoyed their time with us.”

Later that day, our very own TV star – Hera Te Kurapa – who appeared on the My Kitchen Rules television show last year, facilitated an MKR-style event.

“Having the opportunity to teach our rangatahi how to cook was an experience I will never forget,” Hera says.

“It allowed me to share my passion for food through cooking tasty, but cheap and easy gourmet kai. The room was full of laughter, noise and the sweet smell of Coconut Thai Kutae. The rangatahi couldn’t believe that they could create such magic in the kitchen.”

Throughout the week, the rangatahi also had workshops with Air New Zealand, Te Matatini, the Health Promotion Agency and the Drug Foundation.

A highlight for the rangatahi was hearing from, and connecting with, kapa haka celebrities such as Wetini Mitai-Ngatai, Piata Waitai, Dayne Hollis, Tiria Waitai, Dan Waitai, Tomika Whiu, Eraia Kiel and Hera Te Kupara.  The rangatahi also visited various places in Te Arawa including Mitai Māori Village, Te Puia, Mokoia Island and the Polynesian Spas.

Tumukahuroa Hone Paul says it was a busy week of events and he looks forward to following the progress of the participants in the years ahead.

 “We loved hosting the rangatahi and look forward to being involved in the next event.”

The programme was a collaboration between Te Matatini, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, the Health Promotion Agency, the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute, Air New Zealand and iDream, which works with young people to recognise, develop, and support their career dreams and aspirations.

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