MYSTORY Summit ends on a high

28 June 2019

Bianca Seinafo addresses MYSTORY participants as MC.

MYSTORY participants have just spent two days discussing four of the top challenges they face as a Pasifika young people in New Zealand; education, employment, wellbeing and culture, and working on solutions to future-proof their lives.

The inaugural MYSTORY Summit was launched in 2017 in Otara and saw more than 100 Pacific youth and young people from across the Auckland region attend.

This year, the Summit focus was on personal storytelling and building solutions to key issues facing Pacific from a young person’s perspective.

SouthSeas Healthcare Trust CEO Silao Vaisola-Sefo says the Summit provided an important forum for young people to have their voices heard.

“This is a very intentional and deliberate project which caters to the needs of Pacific young people through their lens. The Summit is all about valuing the voices of our youth and young people and inspiring people to take actions for what’s important to our young people and issues they care about.”

“We hope the key agencies participating were listening to the voices of our young people. Our belief is that to make a transformation, there has to be an investment in young people.”

Silao says the group huddles were really important as they gave everyone the comfort and confidence to talk about the sensitive topics a lot of us try to avoid.

“Young people felt safe to discuss issues and challenges among themselves that they were not allowed to speak about at home. MYSTORY creates a space for everyone’s voice to be heard, and for them to be able to express their vulnerability,” says Silao.

The Summit was organised and led by young people.

“The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Its success has given us the confidence to further develop the MYSTORY framework and continue to let it grow and evolve” says Silao.

Most participants found the Summit a great experience with a lot of different speakers, presentations, workshops and discussions. The highlight was Hon Jenny Salesa’s speech where she told her story from the heart with a powerful message ‘Whenever someone says that you cannot, show them that you can.’

Keynote speakers included Associate Minister of Education Hon Jenny Salesa, Professor Marshall Ganz from Harvard University, Boston (USA), Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft from the Office of the Children's Commissioner NZ, and Toeolesulusulu Damon Salesa, University of Auckland Pro Vice Chancellor Pacific.

SouthSeas Healthcare Trust would like to acknowledge the Ministry of Education as the primary sponsor of MYSTORY Summit, the Ministry of Youth Development, the Ministry of Social Development, and collaborative partner the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. Special thanks belongs to officials of Le Va and Oranga Tamariki for their support.

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