Sharing stories to inspire and empower rangatahi

Published on Wednesday, 1 December 2021

More than 300 rangatahi gathered in Whakatū in June for the final Real Talk Mō Ngā Rangatahi 2021 event.

Supported through the Rangatahi Suicide Prevention Fund, Real Talk Mō Ngā Rangatahi is a series of events that invite rangatahi into a safe space to participate in discussions around issues that affect them and explore tools and strategies to overcome these issues.

The discussions cover topics such as mate whakamomori or suicide, sexual and physical abuse, addiction, mental health awareness and domestic violence. By listening to and sharing stories on these kinds of topics, rangatahi can ease the burden of keeping traumatic or hurtful experiences to themselves.

Kaikorero at the events include Māori social media influencers such as Nicola ‘Nix’ Adams, and Raniera Rewiri, also known as Plant Based Māori. These Māori influencers, who have a large following of rangatahi Māori, are able to engage with harder-to-reach audiences who appreciate seeing someone they look up to speaking on issues that affect them.

Te Tai Hauāuru Regional Advisor Lia Forrest supported Tania Carr, the founder and director of Real Talk, on the journey to create Real Talk Mō Ngā Rangatahi.

“In the beginning, I sat down with Tania and started talking about the mental health status of rangatahi Māori and youth suicide. And that’s when passion started to flow and the idea grew into the rangatahi events that we’ve seen this year,” Lia says.

For each Real Talk event, rangatahi can apply to join the kaikōrero on stage and share their story. Tania takes time to listen to the kōrero of all rangatahi who express interest in sharing their story at events, as she believes that every story matters and deserves to be heard.

Real Talk provides support to the rangatahi kaikōrero who are invited to speak through a six-week storytelling coaching programme, a professional framework to help them prepare their story, and wellness support before, during, and after the event.

This support ensures that rangatahi are able to present their story confidently, can make decisions on how they manage their kōrero, and are in the right mental space to share their experiences.

“We make sure that these rangatahi are ready to stand on the stage with strength and mana and tell their story,” Tania says.

“We want them to realise the power there is in being vulnerable.”

The 2021 series of Real Talk events, hosted in cities throughout Te Tai Hauāuru from March till June, were delivered to 800 rangatahi in person, and many more online, with one of the live videos receiving 416,000 views.

Real Talk has now received further support through the Rangatahi Suicide Prevention Fund to take their events around the motu in 2022, inspiring and empowering more rangatahi throughout Aotearoa.

Experience some of the magic of Real Talk Mō Ngā Rangatahi through our video from the Whakatū event.

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