End of Year Newsletter 2021

What a year, whuuu! Whether 2021 has been a year you and/or your young people survived, or one where you have thrived, we hope you find space to be recharged and have time with those closest to you.


Running INVOLVE in August was a real honour for Ara Taiohi, along with our partners NZ Youth Mentoring Network, SYHPANZ and the Collaborative Trust. 959 or you joined us either in-person or online for our first ever hybrid INVOLVE conference!

This was our biggest in-person year, and it was great to meet kanohi ki te kanohi after our digital conference in 2020. A huge thank you goes out to our keynote speakers and all our breakout presenters for helping to create such a large and diverse programme! And of course, ngā mihi to our sponsors, friends and on the ground team – without whom INVOLVE could not run.


The Professional Association of Youth Workers in Aotearoa believes that ‘connected we stand strong’.  We are happy to report that we welcomed 70 new members for October and November alone!   

What’s new? We promise to constantly review our on-boarding processes to make it as streamlined as possible, the latest enhancement is an online membership form.  

What did we learn from 2021?  As member of Korowai Tupu we are accountable to the Code of Ethics for Youth Workers in Aotearoa. As we race towards the end of a challenging year, we encourage you to stop for a minute and reflect on what this means for you and your practice.

Lets’ welcome 2022 with fresh ways to build on our lessons learnt, and improve our practice.  We are here to support wherever we can. We wish you and yours a wonderful festive season, and we will be in touch early 2022 to hear from you about ways to promote positive youth development in Aotearoa.


The revolution of Mana Taiohi has played a significant role with Ara Taiohi throughout 2021 and continue to grow.

These principles of youth development in Aotearoa has taken our team across the motu delivering Mana Taiohi wānanga, with an invitation for people to be part of this journey for themselves and their practice. Mana Taiohi has also impacted Rangatahi Regeneration as they learnt the art of facilitation through the delivery of these wānanga.


In April we held our first wānaga for Ngā Kaihoe in Waikato. Whānau from around the motu attended with energy to connect, understand the whakapapa of Ngā Kaihoe (including the formation and structure of Ara Taiohi) and dream about the future possibilities of this roopū.

We have held various monthly zui to stay connected to the roopū, INVOLVE was an opportunity to further connect and wānanga with a focus on 3 practical steps we, as a collective, could take to move this waka forward. Our whānau identified access to pūtea, understanding who’s who in the roopū and cultural supervision as our priority areas. With the support of Vodafone Foundation Aotearoa, a $7,000 COVID Relief Fund was available to 7 community initiatives around the motu to support the urgent needs of rangatahi. We launched the #meetthewhānau campaign to profile our members in our FB roopū and finally, we are working alongside an amazing roopū of supervisors who whakapapa Māori to explore cultural supervision and/or tuakana/teina for our Ngā Kaihoe whānau.

A lot of this mahi has been ignited/driven by our kaiārahi roopū (Briarley Birch, Stevie-Jean Gear, Tyler Ngatai, Karina Nepia, Kiwa Denton, Toia Chase, and Whetū Campbell) under the guidance and support of Matua James Makowharemahihi and Matekino Marshall. We are excited to grow these kaupapa in 2022.


2021 has certainly been a year of change. One positive for Ara Taiohi was that we welcomed a number of fixed term employees and contractors to the team for the year. We have switched up some of our internal systems and processes, and are undergoing a strategic review to set us in good stead for 2022 and beyond.

This year, we have also welcomed three beautiful pēpi to the Ara Taiohi whānau: Piper (Zara – Korowai Tupu), Joe (Saskia – Korowai Tupu) and Hineteahorangi (Anaru – Ngā Kaihoe). At the end of December, we will farewell Shannan from her role as Communications and Relationship Manager (and Youth Week ?); she has been a great asset to the team over the past five years and we wish her well on our next adventure.


The first wave of this exciting project saw the incredible Daisy Lavea-Timo coordinate, facilitate and lead talanoa with Pacific peoples who work with young people across the motu. Pacific Warriors has opened the vā for Pacific kaimahi to talanoa, share stories and experiences as well as inform how Pacific youth development could look in the future.

Pacific Warriors has kindly received support by the Todd Foundation to implement the next wave in this project – the establishment and gathering of the “All Blacks” group.


The launch of Rangatahi Regeneration earlier this year saw 6 amazing rangatahi from around the motu come together for 2 wānanga, weekly 2 hour zui and facilitation delivery at INVOLVE 2021. E mihi ana i te whānau o Rangatahi Regeneration: Timena Iuliano (Ngāti Wai, based in Whāngarei), Arohanui West (Te Arawa princess, based in Rotoura), Vyaan Kakau-Leef (Te Hikutū, Ngāi Te Rangi based in Ōpōtiki), Talei Bryant (Fiji, Pākehā based in Whakatāne), Maarie Mareikura-Ellery (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāpuhi, Te Atihau-nui-ā-pāpārangi based in Pōneke) and Jordan Peipi (Ngāti Porou based in Waihopai).

This haerenga has seen them dive deeper into their whakapapa/tuakiri (identity), learn about the art of facilitation to support them to facilitate their own lives and Mana Taiohi to organisations around the motu as well as reclaiming their entrepreneurial whakapapa. We are excited to continue the haerenga into 2022 as our Rangatahi Regeneration whānau take a tuakana role supporting our new teina who will join the whānau.  E mihi ana ki ngā kaitautoko pūtea, Vodafone Foundation Aotearoa me Te Puni Kōkiri.


Te Ngākau Kahukura has continued to grow our work towards an Aotearoa where rainbow people grow up feeling safe, valued, and that they belong in the places where they live, learn and access healthcare and social support.

We have seen our advocacy and relationship building with key decision makers lead to new and improved prioritisation of rainbow communities within strategies and funding streams. This year we also started a multi-year project to support Auckland’s housing and homelessness sector to grow rainbow competency (Making Space). Growing the capacity of the rainbow support sector has been another key focus of the last year, including Rainbow Support Collective (RSC), Professional Association for Transgender Health Aotearoa (PATHA), the Rainbow Violence Prevention Network and other rainbow organisations and networks.


2021 has been a super busy year for trainings. We have smashed out 61 trainings all around the motu with over 1500 attendees. This year we have been delivering trainings alongside our amazing Rangatahi Regeneration crew and the feedback from attendees has been awesome! We also started our three-year journey alongside Sport NZ where we have been delivering Mana Taiohi training to Regional Sport’s Trusts around the country.


For 2021 Youth Week we funded over 80 events, across Aotearoa and approximately 9,700 rangatahi attended these events, approximately 200 rangatahi identified as gender diverse. Grants were supported by Ministry of Youth Development and Sport NZ. Collaborative partners included CCS Disability Action, Deaf Aotearoa, Race Unity Speech Awards, Arts Access Aotearoa and New Zealand Music Month.

Youth Week 2022 will be held 7-15 May 2022, the theme was gifted by Rangatahi Tū Rangatira rep Alex at the INVOLVE conference opening: “Our voices matter, and we deserve to be heard!”.

Have a safe, relaxing and hopefully warm break. We look forward to reconnecting with you next year!
Ngā mihi nui,
Team Ara Taiohi ? ??

back to top