In 2019 a gathering of Waitara young people (taiohi) were asked, “If you could bring change to Waitara, what would you want to see”? The participating taiohi shared their desires for safe places of belonging and connection in the community for families and young people; things to do that were drug and alcohol free, positive role models to look up to, job opportunities, opportunities to grow in their skills and passions and things that could give them a sense of pride about their town.
Inspired by these dreams and ideas, three of the local churches came together to form a structure that could support the vision and which could become a collaborative vehicle for their combined youth work, potentially drawing together and building on the successes of programmes like Epic youth and 24/7 youth work. This initiative engaged Waitara High School as one of the key beneficiaries and members of the Waitara Community to advise on the development journey.
As a catalyst for change, BAF – Bishop’s Action Foundation has been a critical friend and guide working alongside the changemakers driving this initiative. We facilitated the conversations that framed up the collaboration and then supported the design and creation of the trust.
“My dealings with BAF has been one that has been extremely fruitful. The amount of support and knowledge they provided to us throughout the process really gave our initiative the best chance to succeed. It’s also really great working with an organization with a big heart and one you know cares about bringing positive change to those it supports.” Jared Dixon, Youth Enabler
The Waitara Taiohi Trust was established late in 2021 as the outcome of this process and seeks to provide the taiohi of Waitara with places in which they can find belonging, community, and opportunities for positive development. As a collaboration it aims to magnify the impact of the youth work being undertaken by the three founding churches working with the local community to unlock new opportunities.
BAF continues to provide mentoring to the trust as it establishes itself during 2022. Tiri Porter, Chair of the new trust said:
“The value that BAF offered, was having extensive governance experience and insights from a local level, and also facilitation skills that allowed the group to pull and stretch certain conversations and decisions that needed to be had. Having BAF walking alongside the Trust in its development stages enabled the working group to pursue a sustainable and collaborative structure needed in order to bring to fruition the dreams and aspirations of the taiohi in Waitara.”