What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people!

What about our young people?

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
Maori proverb

We are the protectors and nurturers of our next generation. It is our responsibility to ensure these children are fully geared up to live good, fruitful, safe lives.  The old adage “it takes a village to raise a child” has been largely forgotten as we go about our often insulated lives where we are careful who we let in. We only speak to those we choose to and we are missing out a whole sector of the community.

Do you really know what life is like for some young people today? We have children at school, eating properly, having their needs met, and they have a safe place to sleep at the end of the day. This should be the norm for all children and teenagers but sadly it’s not. There’s many reasons for this – disenfranchised families, children who have no role models, financial issues, health issues, abuse – the list can go on. But the crux of it is we are ignoring the very people who can make a difference in the future. How many times do you walk down the street and ignore anything you might find distasteful? Do you know how many children are living in the street or in a garage or in a car? Do you even think about this? Surely we have an obligation under the Human Rights Act to ensure all children have a safe roof over their heads. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) is an international human rights treaty that sets out the basic rights of children and the obligations of governments to fulfil them. New Zealand is a signatory to UNCROC and it is long past time for us to take a stand and get these rights enforced.  It’s an abdication of our duties as guardians of the future and it has to stop. We have to start caring again. Caring about where our children sleep at night. Caring about their education. Caring about their life which is so important and not something to be dismissed.

Youth housing is a hot topic and for very good reason. Young people who are without a home fight an endless battle of survival. It’s difficult for them to rent because often they are stereotyped as troublemakers. Accommodation is often geared to families but these kids were once, and still are, part of a family. Where do they go when the world seems to be so against them?

There are solutions, however, it is incumbent on all of us to identify how better to work together to get buy in for these solutions to be effective. Surely the cost is minor compared to where these kids might end up? How do we know what talent lies beneath? We know these are kids are smart, talented and worthy of a chance. They don’t deserve to be taken advantage of or left to survive on their own.  

We also do more damage to these children simply by doing nothing!!!

Solutions need to be to be found – a solutions based youth housing forum is going to be held on Wednesday 6th May 2015 – if you would like to be part of this forum or for more details contact Tenants Protection Association on (03) 379 2297 or projectsupport [at] tpa [dot] org [dot] nz .


Contact Details

Tenants Protection Association (ChCh) Inc
Te Tōpū Tiaki-ā-Kainoho
Room 3, 301 Tuam Street, Christchurch 8011
Ph.(03) 379-2297

info [at] tpa [dot] org [dot] nz (subject: Enquiry%20from%20Website)