As part of the follow-up to the 2016 TacklingPovertyNZ workshop tour, we will be posting one blog a day over the next few weeks to accompany the workshop speaker videos published on our YouTube channel.

Watch Jim Luders, Principal at Northland College, discuss the secondary school system and the need for action at the one-day Kaikohe TacklingPovertyNZ workshop on 16 September 2016 in the video below.

Jim shared his personal experience with poverty and his journey into teaching. He noted that the schooling system in New Zealand ‘turns kids off’ and labels them, and that this can be very difficult to get through. To reverse this current trend, Jim asserted that we need to bring decision making ‘back home’ by creating a community of learning and encouraging schools to diversify, integrate and change. Jim acknowledged the effects of colonisation on the people of the Far North and used the example of Kotahitanga projects and Māori education to highlight where the answers might come from. He raised concerns about people protecting their jobs and institutions rather than doing what’s right for the people and whānau, saying ‘there is a lot of government money, but the people need the voice’. Jim closed his presentation saying ‘we’ve got to take this seriously, we’ve got to be real, and above all, we [sic] get moving’.

About the TacklingPovertyNZ 2016 tour
The 2016 tour was a response to a 2015 three-day workshop that brought together 36 participants aged 18 to 25 representing a diverse range of backgrounds from throughout New Zealand. Participants found that ‘assuming that one solution will work everyone indicates a failure to address cultural disparities and injustices, and an ignorance of the diversity of our population’. The purpose of the 2016 tour was to build and share ideas on how to tackle poverty, come up with local solutions and connect like-minded people within communities.

The Kaikohe workshop was one of six, along with workshops in Queenstown, Rotorua, Gisborne, Kaitaia and Kaikohe. A discussion paper for each area visited has been published on our website. These papers are specific to each community and together form a series showcasing insights from individuals who attended a one-day workshop in their local community.

To learn more about the tour, read Working Paper 2017/01 – TacklingPovertyNZ 2016 Tour: Methodology, results and observations here. This paper brings all the outputs from the six workshops together and aims to illustrate the diverse range of challenges and opportunities existing in communities.

In 2017 we would like to build on these findings. There was a lot to learn and digest, and we are still working through what this means in terms of public policy.

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