Originally drafted by youth workers in consultative workshops circa 2009, this definition is still developing. We recognise the ongoing local and global conversations that are attempting to clarify the distinctive elements of excellent Youth Work practice. Eagle-eyed youth workers will notice the evolution of this definition from the version in our second edition. We welcome ongoing conversation to further illuminate this definition for the mutual wellbeing of youth workers and young people alike. 

Youth Work is the development of a mana enhancing relationship between a youth worker and a young person,

where young people actively participate, discover their power, and choose to engage for as long as agreed; and

supports their holistic, positive development as young people that contribute to themselves, their whānau, community and world. 

Note: Many other professions do incredible developmental work with young people that looks similar to Youth Work; their Codes of Ethics feature familiar clauses. This Code of Ethics has the potential to enhance the mahi of all who work with young people and recognises exclusive orientation of Youth Work in Aotearoa is positive youth development as defined by the principles of Mana Taiohi. The unique nature of the Youth Work relationship means we focus on young people, acknowledge their strengths, ensure participation and, fundamentally, care.