Child and youth voice research findings

Youth Plan 2020 – What we heard from rangatahi

AUTHOR: Ministry of Youth Development

This report highlights dindings from engagement with 1,200 young people to inform the development of the government's 2020 Youth Plan.

Key themes from the engagement activities included:

Government needs to change how it works with and for young people:

  • You want to be heard but the processes can be challenging.
  • It is hard to participate when meetings are held in the middle of the day, when government documents are long and when language is not accessible.
  • Young people want a real person to talk to, more use of youth-friendly language and to share your voice in places where you spend time and feel comfortable (including social media, libraries, marae and schools).
  • Young people want to know that they were heard and how that information was used to inform decisions.

Mental wellbeing cannot be separated from physical and spiritual wellbeing and having strong relationships and connections:

  • Young people want to be connected to the whenua, know your whakapapa and learn your language.
  • Those who identify as rainbow talked about the importance of having your identity accepted and respected..
  • Places' need to be safe and supportive.
  • They want accessible, affordable and appropriate mental health supports, that are more readily available where young people are.
  • Services need to have people who understand your culture, gender and other identities, and what you are going through.

Leadership can be anything from formal opportunities or positions, to being a positive role model for friends and whānau:

  • Young people want space to lead in the way that works for them, eg School Strike 4 Climate.
  • Current leadership opportunities are not widely available or promoted and that only a select group get to participate.
  • There should be fewer barriers to entry and that you want support through schools, leadership programmes and mentors.
  • They need more diverse leaders to aspire to. It’s important to see people like yourselves in positions of leadership or influence.
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