We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

We have a Young People’s Advisory Group that meets four times each year.  They give us advice and feedback, and we provide them with training and mentoring so they can strengthen advocacy work in their communities and nationally. We also work with tamariki and rangatahi throughout New Zealand to ensure their views are taken into account as part of initiatives such as the Government’s Green Paper on Vulnerable Children and our Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty.  We also meet with and seek feedback from children and young people as part of our monitoring work.  

The Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG)

The Young People's Advisory Group (YPAG) is a key way we hear first-hand what it’s like being young in Aotearoa.  The Group has 12 members aged between 12 and 18 years who are passionate about children and young people's rights.

The current group was appointed in February 2013 for a two year term and includes two mana whenua representatives.  You can read the members’ profiles here.

YPAG’s activities 

YPAG believes all tamariki and rangatahi in Aotearoa New Zealand are entitled to the resources they need to reach their full potential. Each YPAG member is currently working on a project in partnership with a selected school in their community.  As part of the project they will be asking students what they need for school to be even better for them - things like sports shoes, food in schools, raincoats and stationery.  They will then approach businesses in their communities to ask them to provide the school and students with support.  The project continues through to May 2014 and once it is complete, YPAG members will discuss their findings, successes and challenges with their communities and at national conferences. 

Other recent YPAG activities include co-presenting at the UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Forum, input into the Office’s work priorities particularly around health and education, and contributing to the Constitutional Conversation Review and the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income 2013 Review of Retirement Income Policy. 

YPAG’s other work regularly includes:

  • meeting with the Commissioner quarterly to discuss issues facing children and young people in New Zealand and to look at potential solutions – this means the Commissioner regularly hears first-hand what it’s like being a young person in New Zealand so he can truly speak on their behalf
  • making submissions on proposed policy changes which have the potential to affect children and young people
  • speaking to select committees and conferences
  • working with other groups to strengthen the voice of young people
  • connecting with people in their communities to get a sense of what is going on for tamariki and rangatahi
  • writing articles for publications and commenting to the media.

Becoming a member of YPAG

The members of the 2013-2014 YPAG were chosen at the beginning of 2013 and the next application round will begin in late in 2014. We’ll post details here when applications open.

The voices of YPAG

“I aim to discuss and bring to action the issues which I think young people in Aotearoa are facing in modern society - child poverty, obesity, cyber bullying, and alcohol abuse” - Pravin

"I am particularly interested in supporting solutions to child poverty" - Kuramahaurangi

 “I believe in standing up for children and young people who cannot stand up for themselves” - Michael

“I’m interested in finding out why teenagers take up alcohol, drugs; the appeal of gangs; pregnancy and suicide and how we can minimise and prevent these things” - Korihi

“The problems I best represent and wish to advocate are domestic violence within families, self-awareness and child poverty” - Tama

"I believe that three of the biggest issues facing New Zealand’s youth today are mental health, attitude towards education, and youth unemployment" - Fiona