Child and youth voice research findings

DMs: Māori and Pasifika young people transitioning out of school amid COVID-19

AUTHOR: Health Promotion Agency | Ministry of Youth Development

This 2020 research project involved interviews and workshops with 60 Māori and Pasifika young people, about their experiences and needs while transitioning out of school amid Covid-19.

The main themes that emerged from the interviews include:

  • The loss of routine, safety, and solitude
  • The loss of key milestones and rites of passage, generating a 'why bother' feeling
  • Derailed pathways and post-school plans , leaving a loss of direction
  • The pressures of job losses on families has meant added pressure on Māori and Pasifika young people.
  • Free time is often distributed between whānau responsibilities, the church, the community, and volunteer work. Not much time left for themselves
  • Anxious about global crises and systemic inequalities (climate change, Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, health and financial inequalities etc)
  • The complexities of identity - they  need to adapt their identity as they shift contexts
  • School can be a cultural safe-harbour, unlike the outside world where confronted with everyday realities of cultural difference and racism
  • Harmful stereotypes of Māori and Pasifika young people work to narrow their horizons over time.
  • Wellbeing campaigns aren’t working for young people - missing what matters to Māori and Pasifika rangatahi, and what they want more of in their lives.

The project also includes desktop research process and further insights about how the young people think and talk about wellbeing.

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