Rangatahi influencers shine on stage at Whānau Ora Symposium
Dynamic trio, Tamatha Paul, Sonny Ngatai and Ezekial Raui inspired participants at the Whānau Ora Symposium in Christchurch today delivering compelling and engaging stories to inspire rangatahi to follow their dreams and aspirations.
Tamatha Paul, 21, from Tokoroa, is the first ever Māori female student president at Victoria University. She is committed to tackling issues such as the university's sexual violence policies, rent rises for students and better access to mental health services for students. The former dux of Tokoroa High School is humbled by the investment the ‘village’ has made in her.
Tamatha is the first member of her whānau to go to university. She sees education as pathway for impact cycles of poverty and inequality. She spoke of the importance of helping whānau connect to their culture and whakapapa connections. “Identity anchors you and gives you the tools to be resilient and take every hit, it sands you off so that you can shine”.
Ezekiel Raui is the founder of TuKotahi ("Stand as One), a programme designed to tackle youth suicide and mental health issues through youth workshops where young people are given peer counselling services. At only 21 Ezekiel has achieved more than someone twice his age, a true leader who has just been named on the Forbes under 30 hotlist.
Ezekiel shared his experiences of growing up in Tokoroa too and how much those experiences have shaped who he is today. He shared his three keys to success, to be optimistic and go beyond the confines of what limits us to our potential and never to fear failure. Ezekiel is an advocate for the entrepreneurial spirit as he sees it as a way whānau can be innovative in their approach to wellbeing.
Talented Māori television presenter, humanitarian and funny guy Sonny Ngatai shared his story and encouraged the importance of self belief. Rangatahi need to be inspired to believe in their dreams and aspirations, no matter how big, make the most of opportunities. Sonny was set on a career to become a Doctor but followed his deep passion to become a television presenter. In his role he enjoys sharing te reo Māori and inspiring youth and was spear-headed by the producer of the first ever rangatahi web series Hahana and has since gone onto present, direct and create a variety of shows, with his most recent show “Tiki Towns” playing on Prime and Nickelodeon.