By David Pine
Porirua City’s Mayoral team comprising Mayor Nick Leggett and Deputy Mayor Ana Coffey is the youngest mayoral team of any district in New Zealand.
Speaking at Plimmerton Rotary on 25th March, Ms Coffey noted that 40% of people in the Porirua region were under the age of 25, with those under 18 making up 29% of the local population. These percentages were significantly higher than those for the Wellington region as a whole.
Contrary to popular belief, young people from Porirua were in the main engaged and articulate, with good ideas and dreams for the future. Porirua City Council had set up a Youth Advisory Group (“YAG”) to liaise with younger people. While this group was not fully representative (for example, there are no women in the group) its members were earnestly trying to connect with young people in a positive way. A new Alcohol Plan had been devised with the help of local Police. The plan seemed to be having the desired effect of reducing the incidence of alcohol and drug related offences.
Another issue affecting many young people was bullying, both cyber bullying and physical bullying. Many schools in the area had introduced the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBFL) programme with encouraging results.
Ms Coffey was of the view that Porirua Council as a whole should engage with local youth, and that Council should be careful not to let YAG become institutionalised.
On social media, Ms Coffey saw many positive attributes. Enabling ideas to be shared with a wide audience, and the ability to easily learn about people and events in the wider world, were two examples.
Ms Coffey dreamed of the day when local young people would no longer be judged by where they came from, what they looked like, their ethnic background, and what school they went to. She firmly believed that while many of Porirua’s young people were talented singers and dancers, they were capable of far more than this. Unfortunately the limited curriculum offered by several local colleges tended to encourage many parents to place their children in schools outside Porirua.
“I sincerely hope that one day our young adults will be proud to say that they succeeded because they came from Porirua, rather than saying they succeeded despite coming from Porirua.”
Finally, the Deputy Mayor urged everyone to log on to www.gigatown.co.nz and show support for Porirua. This was very important for the city because the region that wins the competition on this website would become the first region in NZ to experience ultrafast broadband with the speed of 1 gigabyte per second.
Ana with her parents, Brian & Hillary Coffey
Meeting of 1 April 2014 at Rotary Club of Tawa, Tawa Bowling Club, 13 Davies St, Tawa. 5.45 for 6.15pm. It is a Wine Appreciation Evening. Wine skills will be tested, a little bit may be learnt, but most of all it will be an evening to have some fun. Five Kiwi wines and one Aussie wine will be featured in a blind tasting event. There will be team prizes to be won! The evening will be run by wine consultant, Chris Morgan who has extensive wine demonstration experience for leading NZ and international wines. This will be a fun night designed to improve your wine enjoyment.
Mock Interviews will be held at Aotea College on Friday 11 April, from 8.30am to 3pm. Philip Whearty is looking for members to assist in this very worthwhile activity. Phone 027 448 9094.
The Opening of the first section of Te Ara Piko will be held on 27 and 28 May 2014. $7000.00 was received from Mana Community Grants Foundation for funds for interpretive signage on the pathway.
Gwyn Akeroyd’s huge input to the Book Fair was recognised with a “Presidents Significant Achievement Award” at last night’s meeting. Approx $20,000 was raised and once expenses are covered the proceeds will be split 50/50 between the Club and Life Education Trust, Wellington North.
Phillip Reidy reported to the Club on District 9940's Conference held in Foxton last weekend. It was a conference with a difference and it was very successful. Saturday was a work day when various projects in the local communities were carried out. With T-shirts and hi-vis vests the Rotarians were very obvious all over the district from Palmerston North to Paraparaumu. After a day's hard work we still managed to party well to great music, dressed in our beach themed outfits.