Zeal Logo

Youth-led water festival at Rototuna High School makes a splash

Different from our typical centrebased structure, we had the unique opportunity to deliver the event management programme within a school setting at Rototuna Senior High School. Our young people identified that they felt a lack of connection between the Senior and Junior schools, and they wanted the focus of their event to be bridging the gap between the students and schools. In order to do this, their event, a WaterFestival, became a part of the Year 10s induction into the Senior school.   

It was identified that due to the newness of the school, a social divide existed between the senior and junior students which caused tension as the year 10 students transferred into the senior school. The event management students acknowledged school values such as the Tuakana-Teina model, and identified the need for senior students to take the lead in building on a student culture that was inclusive and welcoming to junior students. To address this, the event management dreamed up an afternoon of water activities to be incorporated into the year 10 induction that would see the current senior students connecting with their younger peers. This allowed the programme cohort to take ownership of their own school community and dream up an event that would have a lasting impact on student culture. 

Our event management programme seeks to empower young people to participate and take ownership of their communities by dreaming up, organising and running an event that they otherwise would not have access to.  This programme aims to upskill students in areas of leadership, critical analysis, problem solving and communication. 
As with most programmes offered through Zeal, the event management programme seeks to deliver such skill development through a youth development approach which focuses on identity formation, self expression, finding a place of belonging and considering where they fit within their community. As a result, young people are challenged to not only dream up an event but consider the purpose, or the ‘why’ behind making such an event available to their audience. Through this, we see our young people consider what is most important to themselves and youth culture in general, and ways in which they can provide young people the platform to express themselves within this. 

The event ran for three days and was heaps of fun. We supported them for one afternoon and, as a team, we mostly brought the hype! We moved around at each activity station, with Lehi diving on the waterslide when a group felt too timid, Jared and Mandy yelling silly things in the megaphone, Hayley being her bubbly self encouraging everyone at the waterslide, and Jason taking photos. It was a really fun way to connect with young people and celebrate the work they put in, and there were no major issues apart from lots of soap in the eyes at the waterslide!

Read more from Hamilton:

“Zeal Hamilton is committed to meaningful collaboration with youth organisations throughout the city, joining together to ensure every young Hamiltonian has the opportunity to discover more about themselves and their creative passions,” Lehi says, Zeal Hamilton’s Manager.

“Your young person is your number one source of growth. You are never going to learn if you are out in front. Similarly your young person isn’t going to learn if they are staring at your back the whole time.