Formerly New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands and MP for the Northland Electorate of New Zealand.


Moving forward together

Thursday 21 May 2015

Creating opportunities for young people

Anyone who has been reading this column since I was elected Mayor of the Far North in 2013 should have detected a theme by now: we will address the challenges we face as a district most effectively when we work together. It is amazing what opportunities open up when government agencies join forces with private businesses, Iwi organisations and non-governmental organisations. Last month, the Far North District Council and 13 other agencies and businesses hosted a Fast Track Job Match day at the Council's chambers in Kaikohe. Thirty-four young people ('Fast Trackers') who were seeking employment or training opportunities got to meet representatives from 14 agencies ('Opportunity Providers') in a fast-paced interview process not unlike speed dating. The Fast Trackers had already attended a Careers New Zealand aspirations workshop and a two-week motivation and work confidence programme run by Work and Income and Ngati Hine Health Trust. The speed interview event gave them an opportunity to match their aptitudes and skill sets with real job and training opportunities. I am pleased to report that People Potential and five employers, including the Council, were so impressed by the calibre of the Fast Trackers, they offered 21 of them eight-week cadetships under the Kaikohe Opportunities, Dreams and Experiences (KODE) programme. This is great news for these young people who will be placed with these employers if they successfully complete their cadetship training. I would like to thank Transfield, Recreational Services Ltd, Northland District Health Board and McDonalds for giving them opportunities to gain work experience and to establish career pathways. I also want to thank Hauora Hokianga, KFC, New Zealand Police, Ngapuhi Asset Holdings Ltd, Ngati Hine Health Trust, Northern Rural Fire Authority, NorthTec and Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngapuhi for making the first KODE Fast Track Job Match a success. We are still seeking five employers to offer cadetships to some of the Fast Trackers who have not yet been placed. Please contact Bronwyn Ronayne at People Potential if you can help. None of us want to live in a District with one of the highest levels of unemployment in New Zealand. Nor do we want to live in a region like that described in the Salvation Army's Mixed Futures report on poverty and deprivation. But we can create a different future for our young people if we look at problems differently, build new relationships and leverage the diverse skills and collective wisdom that is in all our communities. It's amazing what opportunities open up when we work together.


Monday 18 May 2015 : 7am - 9am at Te Ahu Kaitaia
Wednesday 20 May 2015 : 7am - 9am at Council Chambers, Kaikohe
Friday 22 May 2015 : 7am - 9am at Flourflower, Kerikeri

Hosted by Far North Mayoress, Leoni Carter. $10 per person. Speakers will include Northland DHB deputy chair, Sally Macauley, and a breast cancer specialist. Email to make a reservation. Or make a donation at All proceeds in support of New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.


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