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.
The Waitara Taiohi Trust which was established late in 2021 is the outcome of this process and will seek to provide the taiohi of Waitara with places in which they can find belonging, community, and opportunities for positive development.
As a catalyst for change, BAF – Bishop’s Action Foundation has been a critical friend and guide working alongside the changemakers driving this initiative and supporting the creation of the trust. BAF will continue to mentor the trust as it establishes itself.