Instep Young Leaders’ Forum shape Tauranga’s future


Taking advantage of recent opportunities to have their voices heard, our Young Leaders have put forward their vision for a Tauranga that is vibrant, safe and sustainable.

Tauranga City Council’s Long Term Plan submission process provided the first opportunity. The Council hosted the Young Leaders to understand their top priorities for the city. Making transport safer and more efficient and utilising the city centre to create a more vibrant, youth-friendly atmosphere were key themes, as was the development of infrastructure to support an attractive tertiary study environment around the growing CBD education precinct.

Meg Downing and Josia Vickers from Otumoetai College and Maddie Ford from Mount Maunganui College then stepped up to refine the wider Forum’s thinking further, submitting a full written submission to Council with the support of Stephanie MacDonald from Bay of Plenty Regional Council and our own Priority One CEO, Nigel Tutt. Meg and Josia then spoke on the submission directly to the Commissioners within Council Chambers, the Commissioners in turn road-testing a few ideas of their own to get our Young Leaders’ perspectives.

Josia admitted to feeling somewhat anxious to take on the responsibility of speaking on behalf of the Forum but felt it worthwhile to have done so afterwards, adding, “I hope that the Commissioners keep in mind what we had to say for the better of Tauranga’s future.” Providing these opportunities for our youth to have their say on the city they will inherit continues to be integral to the purpose of the Instep Young Leaders’ Forum and we thank Tauranga City Council – particularly Dani Jurgeleit – for ensuring the students had their time with the Commissioners.

The University of Waikato then played host to the latest Instep Young Leaders’ breakfast at their CBD campus in Durham Street. After an introduction to the University’s cultural narrative and history in Tauranga, Virtuo’s design-thinking gurus, Blythe Rees-Jones and Karl Stevenson, facilitated a workshop to gather the students’ thoughts on how Tauranga could become a destination of choice for tertiary study.

Some excellent insight was gained around the unique value proposition of studying in Tauranga and the push and pull factors that the Young Leaders were weighing up while making their own decisions about where to head for their tertiary study experiences. Greg Simmonds, Priority One COO, commented, “It is crucial that we provide the decision-makers within our local tertiary partners and also across the city with genuine insight from the Young Leaders, who in turn represent their school communities.”