Last weekend we were fortunate enough to participate in a civics and community focused conference called Raise Your Voice run by UN Youth Auckland. We were connected to this conference through the Passionate Enhanced Learning programme which gives us notices of opportunities that can help us express ourselves and learn in areas pertaining to our interests. Raise Your Voice was a two day event to collect young people’s opinions and recommendations surrounding current social issues and to take them to the Auckland Council. Over the two days we were involved in our ropū (groups) in which we were part of the Opportunity and Engagement ropū and Homes and Places ropū. We were able to discuss with a range of students our ideas and then draft them into more formalised policy suggestions. During day 1, we also had a panel of speakers involved in creating a better space for youth advocacy. We took away knowledge that in whatever you do, it is important that you look after yourself before enacting in public service. On day 2, we also were presented with a few speakers from Youth Voice, Auckland Council and the Councillor, Fa’anana Efeso Collins. We gained so many skills and understanding of our civic purpose and responsibilities through this conference, especially regarding voting and advocating for issues that affect us.
Chelsea Brown, Year 9; Gabbie Warner, Year 9; and Shana Singh-Anderson, Year 11