As we look back on our first year in New Plymouth, we genuinely could not have asked for a more talented, creative and inspirational team of youth to work with. Collectively they have helped put together 20 amazing youth events, and helped lead many of them, including dance battles, numerous gigs, school events, forums and a paint party.
We could not have achieved all that we have this year, without their energy and passion. But it also would not have been possible without the outstanding community support and partnership that we have received. Below are some highlights from the year.
Taranaki is not only an absolutely beautiful region, but it is also an incredibly generous community. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Bring on 2020!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Zeal Taranaki!
A Good Story – Meet Lucas
Lucas was walking past our centre in March 2019 when he knocked on the door to ask about who were and what we did. He quickly started hanging out with us every day and we soon discovered he loves rapping and dancing.
When he first started performing at our gigs, nerves meant he’d rap while reading the lyrics he’d written from his phone. A couple of months later, we challenged him to rap without his phone at an event 400 young people were going to be at. Not only did Lucas do it but he freestyled too!
The phone hasn’t been back on stage since and Lucas is writing new material weekly. In an incredibly freeing experience, he even performed to over 1000 students at his old school where he’d previously been bullied.
Lucas has become a core member of our volunteer team and we are incredibly proud of him.
Still celebrating – Our youth centre officially launched this year
Around 300 people came to celebrate the official launch of our youth centre in Marfell in May this year! 20 young people performed on stage including singers, rappers and dancers and we got to watch a mural by a local young artist emerge on the wall of our centre over the day.
Youth managed the sound, photography, information booth, BBQ, set up and pack down of the event. We were also grateful to local kaumatua for officially welcoming us to the area and blessing our work there.
Empowering Young Leaders Day
In May we hosted a leadership day for 200 youth from nine different schools as part of Ara Taiohi Youth Week. The concept for the day was to have local people share how they have overcome challenges in their lives and are now able to use those experiences to help others.
Three of our speakers were young people themselves, one of whom has already started their own business. The day also showcased a number of performances by young people, including singer-songwriters and dancers.
A full creative programme roster
We hit the ground running with our creative programmes this year and had young people join us to learn event management, song-writing, guitar, hip hop, sound engineering, and photography. Bring on 2020!