Māori Youth Development Briefing

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I was invited to present a briefing on Maori Youth Development to incoming MPs in the new parliament on 10 December 2008. After consulting with my networks around the country – the following is what I presented. While it is a national set of priorities, I am confident the regional priorities would be closely aligned with this list.

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PRIORITY RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Prioritise Community Building & Intergenerational Connectedness:

a. Encourage more community development rather than just social services. For example support key households in high deprivation neighbourhoods who are doing good things for their community (unfunded activities that address issues like dysfunctional relationships, family violence, mentoring for parents, out of school activities for tamariki/rangatahi, intergenerational connectedness, etc.).

b. Support public campaigns in communities that encourage volunteers to mentor rangatahi.

c. Support research into rites of passage and initiation traditions in New Zealand – particularly within Māori communities – and encourage communities to reestablish healthy markers of the transition to adulthood.

2. Prioritise Whānau Capacity Building:

a. Fund more social marketing and resource development for whānau to provide positive parenting through early childhood and adolescent years.

3. Prioritise Innovative Education Options & Student Support Services:

a. Continue to increase access to quality early childhood services and parents as first teachers initiatives.

b. Increase access to early intervention at primary school age, less need for more expert diagnosis and more need for caring mentors from within the local community who can provide pro-social, developmental experiences and model
healthy relationships and conflict resolution.

c. Increase access to high quality school-based social workers and youth workers – to help address behaviour and attitudes that contribute to under-achievement, class disruption and early school exits.

d. Expand the range of schools implementing initiatives like Te Kotahitanga that challenge unhelpful attitudes and raise expectations of students by school staff.

e. Increase alternative trade training and vocational options for students at risk of disengaging in early high school.

4. Prioritise Quality Decision-Making:

a. Increase opportunities for public policy and funding decisions to be made at the
local level.

b. Require government and NGO organisations to provide independent evidence of
their ongoing commitment to local collaboration before receiving public funding.

c. Resource the non-government sector to engage robustly on public policy debates, developments and decisions.

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS:
• Provide more support from central and local government for sustainable marae development – particularly in rural areas.
• Review the range of incentives and barriers for whānau to live and work on multiply owned Māori land.
• Encourage iwi authorities and Māori Trust Boards to transfer the delivery of social services to hapu clusters and Māori organisations that have this as their core business.
• Support participation in Human Rights education within Māori communities and capacity building efforts that raise the confidence and competence of whānau Māori to engage with public institutions.
• Support the establishment of opportunities for young people from high deprivation backgrounds to participate in overseas experiences in poor communities in the Asia-Pacific region.
• Provide more incentives for ‘old school’ kaiako in Kura Kaupapa to change or make way for young, skilled and enthusiastic teachers.
• Support the development of school engagement (truancy) services at the local instead of district level.
• Increase accountability for schools who use the ‘kiwi suspension’ to abdicate their responsibility for educating children with problem behaviours on their roll.
• Ensure Teen Parent Units and Early Childhood Education Services attached to them are available in every community that has a high school.
• Investigate the expansion of outdoor learning experiences for junior high school students.
• Support Māori immersion education contexts to raise their profile and make them a more viable choice for whānau.
• Learn from the Gisborne Marae Youth Court Project and establish other sites to increase experience of alternative contexts and processes for youth justice that show promising results.
• Develop joint government and NGO infrastructure around the YOSEC tool to promote more effective services to prevent youth offending.
• Provide paid Coordinators for Youth Offending Teams and include NGOs in the Teams.
• Establish new funding pool for prevention and early intervention child/youth development services on the continuum between OSCAR programmes and CYF YJ services.
• Support more local community initiated, designed, implemented and utilised social research.
• Review the level of commitment local government organisations make to child and youth participation in decision-making.
• Increase resourcing for salaries and access to quality training & supervision for youth workers in education institutions, particularly those working with rangatahi Māori.
• Improve monitoring of publicly funded services to increase effectiveness without increasing compliance costs.
• Investigate barriers to government contract managers making unpopular but important decisions when services cannot account for where the funding is going.
• Support the development of more evidence on key components for effective youth development programmes and organisations – particularly for rangatahi Māori is a large gap in our knowledge base.
• Encourage community-based central government agencies.
• Reward the completion of study and training.
• Contractually require providers of funded youth services to contribute to local marae.
• Resource and require youth services to operate outside of 9am-5pm weekdays.

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Manu Caddie is based in Gisborne and works as a researcher and advisor for three national youth and community development organisations. He has previously taught in alternative education, managed a Māori youth and community development NGO, assisted with overseas development projects in Asia and the Pacific and worked in the funding and contracting division of Child, Youth & Family.

He requested feedback at short notice from 20 Māori youth and community development workers around the country for the content of this brief briefing paper. 12 of the 20 provided suggestions.

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