Waipapa Taumata Rau launches Youth Advisory Group

Waipapa Taumata Rau has teamed up with high schools across Tāmaki Makaurau and Pōneke to learn how to better engage with incoming rangatahi students.

Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland Youth Advisory Group

The Youth Advisory Group is a secondary student-led kaupapa, comprising 19 students from Auckland and nine from Wellington. It is the first of its kind to be launched at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland.

Schools and community engagement adviser Max Murray believes a group like this is an effective way to understand what students look forward to as part of a university experience.

“We want to improve our engagement at high school level and better support young people into university, and we want hear from young people directly,” he says.

“The advisory format gives us the opportunity to talk to a varied group of students from all secondary school year levels and allows them to provide feedback about our engagement initiatives, and about their university pathways in general.”

The group will meet regularly, to talk with University representatives and take part in development workshops and feedback sessions on the University’s identity, engagement, and pathways. At the launch on 20 August the students met face-to-face for the first time.

Advisory group member AJ McConnell (Ngāpuhi) of Howick College believes that having such a group is essential.

Pauliasi Bauleka (Kocoma, Qamea, Taveuni, Nabunicibi, Savusavu, Cakaudrove, Noco, Rewa, Nailega, Tailevu – Fiji) of Wesley College also supports the initiative.

“As young individuals we are told that we are the leaders of tomorrow. But how can we become those leaders if we don’t have a say in what our today looks like? A youth advisory group, in my opinion, is an awesome way to get youth perspective on issues that affect youth, whether it be in terms of uni apps, social circles, or adapting to new environments.”

He believes youth deserve to have a seat at the table to better ensure their voices are heard and accounted for.

“Most, especially us Māori and Pacific Island (MPI) and Asian American and Pacific Island (AAPI) students, have years of experience of not being listened to.”

The participating students come from: Newlands College, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, St Mary’s College, Wairarapa College, Wellington Girls’ College, Te Kura Tuarua o Taraika ki Pukeahu (Wellington High School), Orewa College, Howick College, Pakuranga College, Manurewa High School, Auckland Girls’ Grammar School, Ormiston Senior College, Long Bay College, St Cuthbert’s College, Sancta Maria College, Glendowie College, Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Wesley College, and Papatoetoe High School.