Rotorua Mayor mentorship with Tuia representative

Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell with Tuia representative Maringi James. Photo supplied.

Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell has started the Tuia leadership programme with her newest Tuia representative, Maringi James.

Tuia is a national leadership programme for young Māori in communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

The programme involves local Mayors selecting rangatahi (youth) Māori from their district to mentor on a one-to-one basis, to encourage and enhance leadership skills.

Tuia youth leaders met at Taheke Marae in Rotoiti last weekend for a wānanga as part of the Tuia programme.

Tania was a guest speaker at the wānanga, speaking on her experience with the Tuia programme to date.

Tania selected this year’s Tuia candidate in February and will complete a series of mentoring sessions with Maringi throughout the year.

“I’m excited to be beginning a new journey through the Tuia programme with Maringi,” says Tania.

“On the pathway to leadership we’re often faced with difficult decisions.

“At the recent wānanga I shared with the Tuia youth leaders that staying true to their values, ensuring they’re achieving the best outcomes for the communities they serve, and working collectively with others to share ideas and resources will help them to best navigate these decisions.

“There’s no doubt that many of these rangatahi will go on to become excellent leaders. It’s fantastic to be able to support pathways into leadership through programmes such as Tuia that also have a strong focus on community service.”

Maringi expressed an interest in the Tuia programme to learn more about council’s role in the community and how she could contribute.

“I wanted to gain a better understanding of our Rotorua council and what it does for our community - where I would fit in and how I could also contribute.

“Tuia adds to this opportunity and I had heard of it from previous rangatahi who participated and they all loved it.

“I think Tuia is really about finding what works and what doesn’t work for you as a rangatahi, what you believe and what you don’t believe in.

“For the most part I’d say it’s about the opportunity to become a leader, even when you might not see yourself as one. In general though, the highlight of Tuia is the rangatahi you get to meet and being able to see how they help their community.

“I hope that coming out of Tuia I’m able to put together a kaupapa rangatahi will benefit from,” says Maringi.

Founded in 2011 through the Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs, the Tuia programme has supported hundreds of rangatahi. Rotorua Lakes Council has been part of the programme since its inception and has mentored 14 rangatahi Māori.

Tuia candidates are expected to undertake a 100 hour community service project which will provide an opportunity to share experiences, practice new strategies and demonstrate leadership.

As part of the programme, Maringi will meet regularly with the Mayor, participate in local civic events, grow her networks and connect with a diverse range of people with the aim of gaining a deeper insight into inter-generational issues, cultural values and experiences.

Tania says the programme provides a valuable opportunity for rangatahi to gain leadership skills, build networks and give back to the Rotorua community.

“Maringi is well connected to Rotorua so understands our community and the unique opportunities we have here.

“I’m looking forward to working with her throughout the year and am confident that she will succeed in whatever she puts her hand to.”

Tuia candidates commit to attending five weekend wānanga held on marae with fellow Tuia representatives from around the country, monthly mentoring sessions with the Mayor and other event and networking opportunities.

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