June has been a busy month for us here at Commonwealth Youth New Zealand. In addition to hosting an extremely successful panel on youth participation in local government, we have been busy organising a debate with the British High Commission to celebrate constitutionalism in the Commonwealth and to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.
I've just returned from a week in the United Kingdom where I had the opportunity to call on a number of Commonwealth officials, and to meet some of the amazing 2014 Queen's Young Leader award recipients.
It was my honour to attend the Queen's Young Leaders award ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The ceremony, hosted and conducted by Her Majesty The Queen, was an exciting opportunity to meet and talk with some of the young people who were honoured with this award.
On my recent visit to Honiara, I met Christiana Houaisuta, the Award Winner from the Solomon Islands. Christiana was recognised for setting up a community group that works with women in the Solomon Islands to help tackle domestic violence. The group teaches Solomon Islanders about women's rights and gives them training and education on issues surrounding gender equality.
New Zealand's Award Winner, Tabby Besley, is another stand-out recipient. As seen on TVNZ's Sunday programme, Tabby has been instrumental in giving a voice to young members of the LGBT community in New Zealand who may not have felt comfortable expressing their sexuality publicly or to their friends and families.
For me, it was a real privilege to see these two global leaders, as well as the other 58 winners, presented with their medals by the Head of the Commonwealth. It really solidified in my mind that the Commonwealth is in good hands knowing that these young people will some day be at its helm.
I also had the pleasure of meeting with Sir Alan Haselhurst, former Chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and Simon Gimson, Director of the Commonwealth Secretary-General's Office. These two gentlemen have been such good friends of CYNZ, and it was a pleasure to update them on our goings-on since we last met. I'd like to thank them publicly for their kind hospitality.
The next month sees the executive committee busy taking registrations for the National Student CHOGM conference in August. If you have any questions, or would like to register as an observer for the conference, please contact our National Student CHOGM Coordinator, Patrick Lindsay.
As always, thank you for your support of CYNZ.
With kind regards,
Aaron Hape Executive Director
Commonwealth Youth New Zealand
Queen's Young Leaders meet the Head of the Commonwealth
L-R: Tabby Besley, New Zealand's 2014 Queen's Young Leader, receives her medal from HM The Queen; Queen's Young Leaders award winners at Buckingham Palace; The Queen's Young Leaders with HM The Queen, Sir John Major (Chair, Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust), and David Beckham; Aaron Hape (Executive Director, Commonwealth Youth New Zealand) is received by HM The Queen; Queen's Young Leaders visit Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street.
Youth Councils: Empowering or Tokenistic?
To celebrate Youth Week 2015, CYNZ held a panel discussion on the topic "Youth Councils: Empowering or Tokenistic?". The panel consisted of current and former Wellington City Youth Councillors, a current Hutt City Youth Councillor current Wellington City Councillor Simon Wolf.
The panel created lively discussion and debates, with input from the audience. The main points discussed at the event were collated and sent in an open letter to Minister of Youth, Hon. Nikki Kaye, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, and all of the Wellington region Councillors.
It was great to see so many people attend the event, and get involved in the debate.
The GREAT Debate Club
Commonwealth Youth New Zealand and The British High Commission are pleased to invite you to attend the 2015 GREAT Debate. The moot is: ‘Should the Commonwealth have its own constitution?’
GREAT Debates, run by the British High Commission’s Successor Generation Initiative, are an adaptation of British Parliamentary-style debating. There are up to three debaters per team. This event is a fun informal way to practice public speaking and meet some like-minded people – debating experience is not required.
The debate will be followed a brief discussion with a guest commentator. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.
Debaters are selected on a first-in-first-served basis. We are also looking for one judge to represent Commonwealth Youth NZ. Please get in touch if you would like to attend, indicating whether you would like to be a debater, judge, or audience member.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Date: Tuesday 14th July 2015
Time: 17:30 – 19:00. Doors open 17:30, debate 17:45 – 18:30, followed by guest speaker.
Venue: The British High Commission, 44 Hill St, Wellington