For many years, WISE Charitable Trust has supported local and emerging students from Waitara High School in the form of providing financial scholarships at the Senior Prize giving each year. However, in 2019 the scholarships were refined to better reflect the values of the Trust and to encourage youth leadership within the town of Waitara.
One of those awards, the Trust wanted to encourage and highlight examples of community leadership and active citizenship in Waitara. The inaugural winners of the “Tū Tangata Taiohi o Whaitara” award for 2019 are: Tewhaia Loveridge, Nelly Maheu Niumea and Tusi Afelee Niumea.
Nelly Maheu Niumea, Tusi Afelee Niumea and Tewhaia Loveridge pictured with then General Manager Tracey Bryant.
We recently caught up with our “Tū Tangata Taiohi o Whaitara” award winners and Jared Dixon who is their youth leader and mentor. One can tell the boys are close and have very good connection and mutual respect between them and their mentor. They all look up to Jared and say that through his support, encouragement and commitment, they have thrived. Tusi, Nelly and Tewhaia shared their past younger experiences and life decisions and agreed that their passion for community work stems from those experiences. Some of the work they’ve done in the community includes helping out at school holiday programmes, assisting in the community garden, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Waitara and also actively participated in community korero about the Treaty of Waitangi in Waitara, and also suicide awareness.
Tusi, Nelly, Tewhaia and Jared were invited to a Board meeting of WISE Charitable Trust to meet the Trustees and share their journey and future plans for 2020.Pictured from left to right-Damon Jacobsen (Chair), Kura Denness (Trustee), Paul Scouller (General Manager), Jared, Tewhaia, Nelly and Tiri Porter (Co-Vice Chair).
Nelly and Tewhaia are prefects and peer mediators at Waitara High School and this has inspired them even more to go into practice as youth workers. Tewhaia says that he always advises his peers to channel any negative energy into doing something positive. They would like to see rangatahi of Waitara strive towards self-betterment and grow in confidence. Jared speaks highly of the young men and says it’s been amazing watching them move out from their comfort zones and grow. He has learned from them just as much as they have learned from him. The group has exciting projects in the pipeline and plan to not only make a difference in Waitara, Taranaki but the whole of Aotearoa! Tusi completed his studies at Waitara High School last year and is currently studying towards his qualifications as a Youth Worker through Praxis New Zealand, in Whanganui. Nelly and Tewhaia are also youth leaders at the local youth group that offers fun and interactive activities for the young people of Waitara.
We can learn a thing or two from this amazing group of young men who have achieved so much through demonstrating their strong sense of belonging and belief in themselves, and their peers in the spirit of kotahitanga, manaakitanga and whanaungatanga. Tusi, Nelly and Tewhaia are excited to use the award money to attend further youth leadership conferences and workshops in the months ahead. We look forward to keeping in contact with our “Tū Tangata Taiohi o Whaitara” award winners and supporting them to continue their active citizenship in our community of Waitara.