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About the current group
A new group of twelve young people from across New Zealand have been selected as the Young People's Advisory Group (YPAG) and will meet in Wellington on 22 February 2013 for their first advisory group meeting.
Dr Russell Wills welcomes Kuramahaurangi Kotlowski (Auckland), Waiongana Weeks (Lower Hutt), Christopher Wood (Central Otago), Kareem Iposu (Christchruch), Korihi Patuwai (Auckland), Michael Ellender (Waikato), Pravin Thayaparan (Auckland), Tamatu Abraham (Auckland), Samantha Taito (Auckland), Bonnie Milne (West Coast), Fiona Wu (Auckland) and Brittany Dick (Nelson). Profiles of these new members will be available soon.
My name is Pravin Thayaparan. I am 16 years old and am a passionate young kiwi who likes to stand up and voice on behalf of others who do not have an opportunity to be heard. I intend to do this throughout my time as a member of YPAG. In 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.
My name is Waiongana Weeks. I was born in Taranaki 13 years ago and moved to Wainuiomata when I started school. The 3 main problems young people of this generation face (in my opinion) are, Cyber bullying, Family violence and alcohol and drug abuse. During my time as a member of the YPAG I hope I can make a difference to young people’s lives and work towards raising more awareness and understanding around these issues. I'm a bit nervous about my responsibilities, being on the YPAG, but I won’t let that get in the way of my duties of being one of the voices of the youth of today.
Greetings from Fiona Wu! I will be 15 years old as I begin my two-year term as a member of the Young People’s Advisory Group, during which I hope to contribute to the achievement of many things. I am a proud student of Epsom Girls Grammar School in Auckland. I believe that three of the biggest issues facing New Zealand’s youth today are mental health, attitude towards education, and youth unemployment. A passionate supporter of young people’s rights, I am deeply honoured to be selected for the YPAG and look forward to the work of the next two years.
My name is Christopher Wood and I have just turned 13 years of age, I attend Mount Aspiring College and have lived in New Zealand for just over 5 years. I enjoy playing cricket, I am a scout and also like to fish.
My main areas of concern for children in New Zealand are poverty, abuse and drugs. I look forward to working with my fellow members to promote and improve how children can grow here in New Zealand.
My name is Kuramahaurangi Kotlowski. I am 14 years old, and Maori, Polish and Chinese mix. Born and raised in Mangere Bridge, Auckland, I attend the local Y1-13 school, Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae. I am particularly interested in supporting solutions to Child Poverty. Youth suicide is also a big problem to solve. One thing I would like to find out more about in my time as a YPAG is Youth rights and the Law system.
My name is Brittany Dick of Nelson, and I am 14 years old. I love theatre, and my passions are singing, acting and dancing. The main children's issues in my opinion are child abuse, substance (drug/alcohol) abuse and child poverty. I look forward to extending my education on wider horizons next year through this group.
Talofa Lava, Kia Orana and greetings to you who are reading this introductory blurb on the newest members of the Young People's Advisory Group. My name is Samantha Taito and I proudly represent the diverse community of South Auckland. I am currently 15 years of age, descend from a Samoan and Cook Island background, a strong believer in Faith and currently attend Aorere College.I have two beautiful parents and 2 wonderful siblings who help me get through life when the path of life is hard to travel. Before I was privileged enough to be selected as a member of this unique group, I knew that change in the lives of many children needed to occur, considering that many children in New Zealand are struggling from the indecency that poverty, child abuse and inequality has on their young lives. I hope to achieve in the next 2 years a brighter and safer New Zealand for our Tamariki, and to improve little things in the current scheme so that all is well for our future generation. I promise that I will offer all I can to the people and children of Aotearoa to work on issues that are most important and relevant to the lives of many.
My name is Korihi Patuwai. I am born and bred in Glen Innes, Auckland. I am the age 14 and go to Glendowie College. I am passionate about youth and like to see why we do the things we do and the psychological aspects of events. 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. In saying this I want to find out what are the real problems behind these events. Is it the way we’re brought up sometimes with child abuse and neglect? Living in unsupported families or is it friends, peer pressure and bullying.
Hi everybody my name is Tama Abraham. I am 16 and currently attend Waitakere College in Auckland. I suppose that with any one person’s capability any possible issue stand to be achieved, but due to personal attachment I feel as if the problems I best represent and wish to advocate are domestic violence within families, self-awareness and child poverty. My attachment to these issues is my reason for wanting to be a youth leader within Aotearoa projecting the voices of those who are neglected and rarely heard.
Hi I’m Bonnie Milne. I have just finished school for the year and I am 13 years old. I like to play netball and going on motor bikes. My three issues are child abuse, education and safe home environment. While I am on the group I would like to help to make sure that younger kids are safe.
My name is Kareem Iposu. I will be 14 on my next birthday in April. I was born in Nigeria and moved to NZ when I was a 4-year-old. I like to participate in different sports, especially soccer and tennis. I love playing guitar and listening to music. The young people today are going through a lot. There are cyber bullying, alcohol and drug abuses, and many teens are going through depression and are suicidal. In my time with the Young People's Advisory Group (YPAG) I wish to make a difference and help the teens who are going through difficult times. I consider it an honour to be selected into the YPAG, and look forward to working with others to make a valuable contribution to people’s life.
My name is Michael Ellender, I am 14 years old, I attend Morrinsville College, I am a keen Scout and Judoko. I believe in standing up for children and young people who cannot stand up for themselves. I live in the countryside with my Mum, Dad, brother and sister. The three biggest problems affecting children and young people today in my opinion is child poverty, cyber bulling and self-confidence, because with self-confidence young people can do anything you put your mind to.
We bid farewell to Jessica Palairet, Tawera Taylor, Amanda Ngo, Alex Kroch, Prashan Casinader, Ruby Lindstrom, Aroha Selwyn, Izaia Tilialo, Kieran Denton and Jacob Smith. All the team at the Office of the Children's Commissioner are very grateful for all the amazing work this group of fantastic young people have undertaken in their time on the group. Their energy, intelligence and skills will be missed.