We believe that the best way to ensure a good life for mokopuna is to listen to and value their voice in the things that matter. But we often hear that mokopuna don’t feel like government listens to them or gives them a genuine say. This needs to change.
Mai World: Child and Youth Voices aims to listen to, engage with, and amplify the voices of mokopuna to share them with decision makers. Our team works with mokopuna from all around Aotearoa to understand what they think about a range of topics. We then share their thoughts so they can guide government and community decision making. These voices also guide all of the work we do as an office.
The name Mai World emphasises the importance of children and young people’s voices. It encapsulates what it means to be child centred by focusing on children and young people within their whānau, community, society, within their world.
The word ‘my’ in English identifies the subject in relation to what sits around it. The kupu (word) ‘mai’ in Māori and in the Pacific world transcends language and is again, coloured by what sits around it - aroha mai (love towards me), whakarongo mai (listen to me), titiro mai (look at me), kōrero mai (speak to me) - just as worlds around mokopuna shape them. As can be seen by these phrases, the use of the word ‘mai’ makes a statement directional. This is true in the case of Mai World where the flow of knowledge is from the speaker to the listener, from the mokopuna who are speaking, to the adults in the room.
When we support mokopuna to embrace their own world and tell us about it– we pass the power, from our world to theirs.
We work with mokopuna, education providers, community groups, non-government organisations and government agencies. We use a range of methods, including online and in-school surveys, and face-to-face and community engagements, to hear from mokopuna in a way that protects their privacy We ensure mokopuna are supported to have their perspectives sought in the way that works for them, listened to and given due weight in all decisions that affect them.
More than 25,000 mokopuna are connected to Mai World.
41 schools across the country (including one early childhood centre) and a growing number of community groups are now registered or involved – meaning we can ask more than 25,000 mokopuna for their opinions.
For mokopuna themselves, being involved with Mai World engagements can help empower them to advocate for their own interests in the future.