Youth week 2022 has been voted, as the best youth week Zeal has ever had.
Read below about what went down, and why this year was the best one yet!
"Our voices matter, we deserve to be heard"
Zeal Hamilton ran two successful and incredible events during youth week. The first event was a music jam night run in collaboration with Youth Intact, a drug and alcohol service that works alongside young people. Zeal young people welcomed Youth Intact’s crew of young people, including their families, for an afternoon of music, vibes and hangs. It was a cool night of connecting with muso’s and sharing what Zeal’s all about. To make it even better, prizes were given out which included scholarships to Zeal’s programme of their choosing.
Our second event, Beast Mode, was even bigger, and it really did live up to its name. Six hundred young people came through within the day. Beast Mode was a concert and expo all in one, including young musicians from around the Waikato, young people from Zeal’s vocal programme, dancers from Hamilton and Auckland, free barber, makeup artists, a virtual reality booth, games, prizes, surveys and more.
The event was first planned by the youth advisory team who designed the event from start to finish, while Zeal Hamilton, alongside local organisations in the Waikato (Te Runanga O Kirikiriroa, Hamilton City Council, Te Ahurei a Rangatahi, Headquarters, Te Puni Kōkiri, Waikato Tainui and VOYCE Whakarongo Mai) got beside the youth advisory group and supported them to execute their vision.
Zeal Wellington’s mission during youth week was to create ways to open spaces for young people to have their voices heard. We did this by providing different avenues where young people could express themselves, including writing, music, sharing a meal and games. This allowed young people the opportunity to express themselves in a non-judgemental atmosphere.
What went down
The week started with young people decorating a door by writing and painting on why youth voices are important. This door was placed at Afternoon Hangs, Zeal Nights and even located on Cuba Street for those walking past.
We also supported a young person from Naenae to create a music video for his song called ‘Block Baby’. This song describes the challenges of being a young person living in a low socio-economic community and how others wrongly perceive him.
Lastly, we ran smaller activities including table tennis comps, video game battles, open mic night and making meals for everyone to enjoy.
The main goal for us was to help create deeper dialog where young people could talk about the real stuff. We were able to achieve this by connecting with 120 young people, with 30 of these being new to Zeal. This was a huge achievement for our outreach and gave a diverse understanding to youth voices.
Zeal Taranaki hosted their annual event, Empowering Young Leaders’ Day attended by 200 young people from schools located in New Plymouth. The day included, inspirational speakers, music, dance acts, special guests from other organisations, games, competitions and young people sharing their experience about Zeal and what it’s like growing up as a young person in today’s society.
Empowering Young Leaders Day
The kaupapa of Empowering Young Leaders’ Day is all about young people having a platform to speak, to share their stories and ask questions. Young people were involved in decision making in all aspects of planning and running the day – everything from MCing the event, speaking, being interviewed, asking questions of the person being interviewed, performing, welcoming, preparing and serving food.
We believe that all young people are leaders within their community and that leaders are not confined to the straight “A” students or the star athletes, but there is leadership potential in all rangatahi.
This was expressed through both the messages of the speakers and the people who were chosen to speak – ordinary young people who are leading in their communities, rather than famous people who can be seen as exceptional and unattainable by young people who don’t yet consider themselves leaders.
Zeal Kāpiti’s main project during youth week was an online music comp. Young people were invited to submit a video of an original song or spoken word they had written. The winner, along with second and third runners-up, received cash prizes and the winner will have their track recorded at a local recording studio. This gave us a great opportunity to connect with young creatives via an online space. The next step is connecting with the comp winners and uploading their content to the Zeal Kāpiti Instagram for others to view and praise their awesome work.
"Giving full control to young people"
The comp truly backed the theme of youth week, “Our voices matter, we deserve to be heard”, as it gave them authentic license to express themselves through a creative lens and be heard.
The comp had very limited guidelines and boundaries, giving full creative control to the young person involved.
Zeal West held it down during youth week with four different events. This included Street Jam which had a basketball tournament, dance crews, a free barbershop, free BBQ and spot prizes. The next was Tuck Shop Sessions, which had dance crews performing including Freshman’s dance crew, Kwest and Saintz dance academy, local music artists like Zeal West’s very own Cut & Paste and Angelo, Projekt team, Bersa Reordz and DJ Neitjah. This was a free entry event in collaboration with Hapai Te Hauora. To finish it all off, youth workers Daniel and Kim joined Massey High School’s youth week careers assembly and our team supported Ranui 135 with their youth week concert.
Total attedees during Youth Week
Were new young people to Zeal West
"It's about coming together"
Youth week for us is about coming together as a community and backing other orgs in supporting young people, giving them a place of belonging and fun within West Auckland. Youth Week gave massive exposure for Zeal West. Beyond just being the big Zeal sign outside West Wave, young people heard a deeper understanding of what we do, what we can offer them, and how they can be a part of the Zeal community. Another massive achievement was the young people who took charge during youth week. They took it by the horns and went for it, taking the lead on the Tuck Shop Sessions, including planning, performing, welcoming people, photography and more.
Zeal Digital collaborated with six young people between the ages of 15-17 to host five Instagram lives alongside special guests. Our interviewers and guests discussed matters surrounding young people, their personal experiences, youth voices and wellbeing. Our guests included White Island survivor Kelsey Waghorn, Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul, Youth Worker, Singer and TikToker Daniel Haurua-Clubb, Youth Worker and Professional Shot Put Athlete Nathaniel Sulupo, and Rainbow Youth Manager for Taranaki Wesley Milne.
Views per video
Although we helped to guide young people in preparation for the interviews, they ultimately took the lead and were in full control.
They had full autonomy to ask questions they wanted to ask, be authentically themselves and share their opinions about youth voices. They also talked about how they feel misunderstood and the challenges of being a young person in today’s climate.
Special thank you
To those who have supported Zeal programmes during youth week including:
Ara Taiohi, Waitākere Ranges Local Board, Creative Communities NZ, Henderson Massey Local Board, Hapau Te Hauora, Ngā wāhi Auaha Creative Spaces Fund, and especially young people who attended during youth week.