For rangatahi, by rangatahi – at Waimeha

By Sheridan Duncan, Kai Whakatuarā Rangatahi / Rangatahi Suicide Prevention Coordinator

With Māori suicide rates nearly double those of other New Zealand ethnic groups, Te Piki Oranga developed a plan to involve rangatahi in a competition to promote health and well-being to their peers.

The idea was to develop something “for rangatahi, by rangatahi” and to guide youth to a greater understanding of their own perspectives on well-being and mental health.

In May, we launched a Rangatahi Wellness competition in schools and alternative education providers to gather rangatahi’s suggestions on the best way to raise awareness of suicide. Five student groups worked for two months on their wellness plans, which included a leadership camp, a youth oriented fair that involved a clothes swap and a glow in the dark dance party complete with a DJ and a hangi. Unable to choose a winner from these fantastic proposals, we decided to put all the options to the vote on our TPO Facebook page.

The clear winner was… drum roll please… Motueka High School, for their all-ages Music Festival concept, an event for all ethnicities showcasing dance, performance and musical acts. Currently planned for September, we’re hoping the Music Festival will become an annual event that will encourage some open and honest discussions among rangatahi about suicide, well-being and mental health.

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