Youth Week, celebrated in May every year in New Zealand, is a major cultural event in the nation. This year, it takes place from May 6 to 14. New Zealanders get into a festive mood every year to mark Youth Week every May. Youth Week is a nationwide carnival of events to recognize and laud the talents, passion, and achievements of local young people, also known as ‘Rangatahi.’. The theme changes every year. The theme of Youth Week 2022 is “Our voices matter, and we deserve to be heard!”
History of Youth Week
The first Youth Week was held in Canada in 1995, with a handful of events scattered throughout the country. The initiative has gathered momentum ever since, and today, it is celebrated annually in many countries around the world. Aotearoa, or the North Island, first marked Youth Week in the late 1990s. The New Zealand Association for Adolescent Health and Development (N.Z.A.A.H.D.) launched the first festivals, then later entrusted its celebrations to Ara Taiohi in 2010. The Y.M.C.A., which was started in Auckland in 1855, was New Zealand’s first youth organization. It expanded its reach to other regions soon after.
All the Youth Week festivities are conceived and organized by young New Zealanders. For the general public, this event inspires them to value, support, and affirm the diversity of young people. Youth Week is coordinated by Ara Taiohi, a body for youth development in Aotearoa, and is supported by the Ministry of Youth. The events are designed to encourage young people (12 to 24 years old) to share ideas, take on challenges, and focus on the positive aspects of being young.
Many children and youth face significant social challenges in New Zealand, such as addiction, poverty, violence, inequality, and poor mental well-being, which affect their prospects.
The government of New Zealand has enacted legislation that is focused on the well-being of children and poverty reduction. The work is being managed by the Child Well-being and Poverty Reduction Group, which was established in February 2018, and consists of the Child Wellbeing Unit and the Child Poverty Unit.
Youth Week timeline
Arriving in canoes, the Polynesians from East Polynesia settle in Aotearoa and develop a distinct Māori culture.
The Education Act of 1877 creates New Zealand's first free national system of primary education and makes education compulsory for children aged five to 15 years.
New Zealand lowers the voting age to 18 years.
The inaugural Youth Parliament takes place at the New Zealand Parliament Building.
Youth Week FAQs
What kinds of activities happen during Youth Week?
Youth-oriented events covering arts, culture, sports, recreation, social service, and mentoring are the most common activities in Youth Week.
How many youths are there in New Zealand?
As per official figures, in 2019, there are around 1.6 million New Zealanders under the age of 25, comprising about 33% of the nation’s population.
Who is the youngest M.P. in New Zealand?
In September 2017, at age 23, Chlöe Charlotte Swarbrick was elected as a member of the New Zealand Parliament.
Youth Week Activities
Attend a Youth Week event
Going to a Youth Week event is an excellent way to show support for young people. Events are usually listed on www.youthweek.co.nz.
Interact with the media
Write to the editor of your local newspaper, highlighting the positive aspects of youth in your community. This is a good way to celebrate the part young people play in society.
Appreciate the youth
Tell the children and young people in your life how much they mean to you. We often assume that they already know how special they are, but praising them makes a world of difference.
5 Interesting Facts About New Zealand’s Youth
Ara Taiohi’s large membership
The Ara Taiohi is a national membership-based organization with over 1,600 personal and organizational members who work with young people.
New Zealand’s youth in politics
Every three years, the Youth Parliament is held in New Zealand, where the youth influence the government’s decision-making, learn first-hand about the nation’s democracy, and have their voices heard.
Joining the Youth Parliament
To become a Youth Member of Parliament, young people aged 16 to 18 years are chosen by their local member of parliament.
A multi-day event
The Youth Parliament takes place over two days and runs just like the actual Parliament.
The protection of children
New Zealand’s Child Wellbeing Unit is tasked with improving the well-being of all children in New Zealand.
Why We Love Youth Week
It keeps us young
Hanging out with the youth keeps you active and vibrant. Getting to do it for a whole week makes it even better.
It shows the youth in a positive light
Youth Week is a refreshing departure from the negative stories that we so often hear about youth. It reminds us that young people are valuable members of society.
It celebrates people who work with the youth
Teachers, counselors, parents, sports coaches, and others play a huge role in shaping the upcoming generation. This holiday gives them due recognition.
Youth Week dates