Whakarongo ki te reo Mātātahi: Elevating the voices of our west Auckland tamariki

Posted on 20 November 2023
Our young people are the leaders of today and the architects of tomorrow.

Tamariki from Henderson and Glen Eden Intermediate Schools recently came together with community leaders at Te Ipu Kura ā Maki (Henderson Council Chambers) for Whakarongo ki te reo Mātātahi, a special event marking the culmination of a project empowering these young people to share their stories, thoughts and dreams with the wider community.

From the financial barriers faced in participating in sport to the environmental challenges posed by pollution, the young people's stories resonated with the audience and provided a glimpse into the minds of these young leaders.

Community leaders also had the opportunity to engage in meaningful kōrero with the young authors. This interactive session allowed for a rich exchange of ideas, as the adults posed thoughtful questions and encouraged the authors to delve deeper into their perspectives.

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"Bullying is happening all over Aotearoa and we must find a way to address it ... My solution would be to raise awareness of bullying and to help those struggling ... if we can be more mindful of others' feelings and emotions, we will minimise the amount of bullying we see daily."

Kowhai Lintola Reihana
Henderson Intermediate School

Change the Education System


"There is a system that controls everything we do. It is the system of education. It controls what you know. Knowledge feeds thought and thought feeds action. Therefore, everything stems from this system.

"Because this system is so important, it should be influenced by the people who are in it and sculpted by the people who have already been through it."

Giovanni Van Dam
Henderson Intermediate School

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What I Would Do with $100,000,000?


"First, I would build a homeless station where homeless people can come and stay as long as they are trying to find work ... [or] if they already have work but are not financially stable enough to rent a property.

"The second thing I would do is build an adventure park in central Auckland with areas based on different parts of the world, where you can explore that area's delicacies and adventures."

Kaedynn Taylor-Tito
Glen Eden Intermediate School

Living is So Expensive


"Living in West Auckland is expensive for many families ... Here are some solutions to reduce living expenses and give families some relief.

"First, I would ensure affordable homes are consistently built across Tāmaki Makaurau. Second, the government should support local farmers so it's cheaper for us to buy groceries.

"Lastly, [the] government should restrict the net profit that [power] companies are allowed to make so it's more manageable for less fortunate people to be able to pay their power bills."

Kiana Ah-Loo
Glen Eden Intermediate School

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The accompanying Whakarongo ki te reo Mātātahi book explores a diverse range of themes, reflecting the concerns and aspirations of the younger generation.

Moving forward, we plan to continue seeking avenues to project and elevate the voices of our young people. Their perspectives, rich in insight and potential, hold the key to shaping a brighter future. We aspire to replicate this successful project on the North Shore next year.

Our deepest gratitude goes to the schools, teachers and Te Hononga Akoranga COMET staff who helped bring this project to fruition. Together, we can empower our young leaders to be the architects of tomorrow.

Ngā mihi nunui ki a koutou,
Dr Will Flavell