Millennial future leaders to share inspiration at hui

Youth event at Inspiring Stories (photo supplied)

Guy Ryan

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley

Future young leaders from across the country will gather at Massey University’s Manawatū campus this weekend for a national hui honouring and celebrating their emerging contribution to New Zealand society.

Organised by Massey’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences with the youth-focused social enterprise organisation Inspiring Stories, the April 6-8 hui has identified young people from throughout New Zealand tackling community challenges including local health initiatives, budget advice services and encouraging start-up businesses.

College Pro Vice-Chancellor, Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, says the individual qualities of those attending made them ideal participants in the Wellington-based Inspiring Stories programme, which runs on a part-time basis requiring up to five hours commitment per week until November.

“We’re backing these future leaders from rural and provincial New Zealand to build their social entrepreneurship and leadership capability, and their ideas to make a difference.

“Past participants have gone on to significantly improve their capability and confidence, be better prepared for the future, explore meaningful career opportunities and do good things for their communities,” he says.

Hon Peeni Henare (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi), Minister for Youth, Community and Voluntary Sector, for Whānau Ora and Associate Minister for Social Development, will attend and speak at the hui.

Youth passionate about their communities

CEO and founder of Inspiring Stories Guy Ryan says the hui is an opportunity for youth leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges that the Millennial generation face as they grow up in regional and provincial New Zealand. “They are young people who are passionate about their communities, who are hungry to solve the challenges of the now and play their role in establishing a positive future," he says.

The young leaders arrive in Palmerston North on Friday, with half of the intake staying on campus over the weekend to gain an insight into student life.

Along with the group’s mentors and coaches, they will take part in workshops on campus, one of which will be led by Professor Richard Shaw, who champions Massey’s revised Bachelor of Arts degree to the public.

With Professor Spoonley, Professor Shaw will then conduct regional workshops during the year with participants as they deal with community issues relevant to their specific area.

Once the programme is completed they say participants will have gained a clearer understanding of factors shaping the socio-economic issues affecting their community, built up a network of mentors to share ideas and advice with and be better prepared to assume leadership roles.

Some brief profiles and contact details for future leaders attending the hui:
  • Iraia Nuku - Head Boy Tarawera High School 2017, Kawerau Youth Council 2013-present.
  • Eden Edwardson - Studied Business at AUT. Moved back to Opotiki to get back to her roots. Works at Healthy Families East Cape in promoting health-related activities and initiatives in the community. Email:
  • Dominique Vao - A dancer from Palmerston North who is heavily involved in her community. Email:
  • Joseph Alison - Based In Palmerston North, studied chemical engineering and is active in his community. Email:
  • Shania Braithwaite - Kapiti-based nanny and part of Nga Kakano - a rangatahi group created to make a difference in the community. Email:
  • Thomas Sardelich-McNutt - Currently working for West Coast District Health Board as a network administrator, and with several local businesses in Greymouth with Break/fix, Sustaining and Enhancing IT for small to medium businesses. Also involved with West Coast Life Education Trust Board. Email:
For further information contact: 

Genevieve Westcott (Massey University Communications and Marketing): M: 021 971 477

Thomas Maharaj (Inspiring Stories): 021 193 7699

Check out the Inspiring Stories website and Facebook:

For social media: #futureleadersNZ 

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