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Lupe project “Seeing their world through the camera lens”

Zeal Wellington kicked off 2021 with a new photography programme to support Pasifika families and communities to unleash their full potential and have the best possible health and wellbeing. Term 1 kicked off in Porirua Alternative School, followed by City Alternative School. We then worked with Kickstart Youth Centre for terms 3 & 4.

Overall 40 young people have taken part in the 10 week course throughout 2021.

How we rolled

Each week we focused on a new theme. Young people were able to express who they are and share their lens on the world through their photos. It was powerful for youth workers to connect with young people through their images while running mentoring groups and one-on-one sessions. Each week we adapted to suit the needs of each young person and we gave them room to create. One day we drove the young people around their hood to take photos. They shared personal spaces like where they hang out with friends and where they call home.

We created a beautiful culture that breaks down barriers. A culture that said, I'm gonna embrace you, I'm gonna fist bump you, say hello and respect you.

End of term Gallery

Each term we celebrated the students’ mahi by creating a gallery of their work. Friends, family and the wider community were invited to the celebration. The gallery nights were a total success. Parents were blown away at the skills and creativity their children had shown. 

The gallery night was a massive highlight. The young people were a little shy to share their stuff, but after some encouragement, they invited their families to come through. I loved seeing the young people excited to show their families their creativity and caregivers, parents and youth workers were able to celebrate their awesome work.

Check out some of the students' photos below

Man the highlight for me is watching them come alive and realizing their potential. It doesn’t have to be about photography, but what’s going on in their world in that moment. It gave us a lot of opportunities to speak into their lives and give them advice. The more trust built the more they let us into their world, and when I see the light bulb moment and see them inspired and confident, that's when I know we’re really doing something right.

Lockdown challenges

The term 3 lockdown was a massive challenge. Students took photos at home with phones or whatever they had, sent them in and told us why. We connected via DMs, Zoom and SMS. DMs were an easy way to share photos back and forth and enabled authentic connection. We’re confident things are set up well for future lockdowns.

Term 4 and 2022

Watch this space! We’ve continued in Term 4 and will keep going in term 1 2022 alongside Kickstart youth’s female group.

A heartfelt thank you 

Massive thank you to Le Va Pasifika Suicide Prevention Community Fund Initiative. With your support we’ve been able to connect and journey with more young people. 

Thank you too, Kickstart Youth CentrePorirua Alternative School, City Alternative School and Praxis New Zealand.

To all students who participated during the Lupe photography programme, you all have incredible mana and we’re so proud of you!

A special thank you to Tau, Felix, Tons, Nathaniel and the Wellington team. Tau led this programme and poured his heart into it and truly brought it to life. Tau set up a great culture and foundations for the group so that young people could come through and enjoy. Big up to the uso Tau. Felix also is incredible, he has so much knowledge and perspective in taking photos. He pushed the boys further in their photography and we saw them succeed. Felix played a huge part in bringing the quality of photos to life, even us youth workers within the project learnt a lot because of Felix.

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