The Young Leaders’ Forum provides opportunities to step up and step out and two brave students did just that at this year’s Priority One AGM. It was a moment to influence and be heard by the business community, who are the current stewards shaping Tauranga into a thriving magnet city. Each was asked to share their thoughts on the future of Tauranga Moana as a city.
Abby Duncan a Year 13 student from Otumoetai College shared her unique perspective that Tauranga is a liveable city where everyone can find a pizza that resonates with their unique palette, where the vegetarian, the meat lover, and the vegan can all coexist without a food fight breaking out. Abby went on to explain that a truly liveable city is one that embraces this diversity and recognises the unique tastes of its residents. It is a city that offers a menu that accommodates the variety of lifestyles and cultural backgrounds that make up our diverse community.
Abby shared her somewhat unconventional ambition of becoming an astronaut. She discussed the trajectory to get there may include becoming a pilot, a mission specialist, an engineer or to have a career as a rocket engineer-the ones building testing and designing spacecraft that will support humanity to go further into space to deploy sustainably satellites and devices that keep our technological cities going. Abby pointed out that although Tauranga doesn’t have the learning institutions she needs for her chosen career, it does have the communities that foster courage, and growth and have supported her to pursue her dreams. For Abby, a liveable city, her pizza store, needs to provide the ingredients for all parts of the pizza, because what’s a pizza without the pineapple?
“As much as I love my home here in New Zealand, my path reaches beyond its shores. And while Rocket Lab is doing groundbreaking work here, my dreams are still too big. My sights are set on the larger milestones, like the moon, mars, and maybe even pizza delivery to the International Space Station. My future will hopefully take me far into the unknown where the Wi-Fi is sketchy, and the food dehydrated, but it started here. The Instep Young Leaders’ Forum has been amazing; it has introduced me to new friends, raised a multitude of opportunities, and has helped me build confidence in the most unexpected ways.” Say’s Abby.
Hugo Corin a Year 13 student from Tauranga Boys’ College took the stage lamenting on a breath-taking moment he experienced while looking out at the sunrise as it gently woke up over the harbour. During this Instep Young Leaders’ breakfast, held at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council chambers, he was awestruck by the beauty of our city and planned to return for that view someday in the future. He stated the IYLF taught him to have the courage to make difficult decisions and to share his point of view to those who have power. Hugo’s plan for 2024 is to explore New Zealand through the Mount Aspiring College programme, where 30 Year 13 students from around NZ live semi independently and experience an outdoor pursuit programme teaching about the natural wonders of Aotearoa from a historic and scientific perspective.
Hugo hopes to become a guardian of our land and to accept what he has been gifted and to then give back, by looking after our Whenua. From there he plans to study Law at Otago University before returning to Tauranga.
“As someone who lived here all my life, I can see the work that is being done to make Tauranga a liveable city. We have efforts and funding going into exactly the right things: making the CBD a more vibrant place and improving our traffic situation. As a young person, I recognise what is being done because I can now travel around Tauranga using public transport in a safe way. I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy the spaces that are being created and celebrate the diverse cultures and interests of our community. The thing that really brings people like me back, is the strong community here.”
As Abby Duncan and Hugo Corin concluded their inspiring speeches, the room buzzed with a palpable sense of optimism for Tauranga’s future. The Instep Young Leaders had indeed taken the stage, leaving an indelible mark on the minds of the business community gathered.
Abby’s vision of a liveable city as a diverse and inclusive pizza, where every flavour has its place, resonated deeply and captured the essence of boundless ambition nurtured by the supportive community she found in Tauranga.
In contrast, Hugo’s reflection on the spectacular sunrise over Tauranga encapsulated the beauty of the city that he aims to preserve as a future guardian of the land. His commitment to exploring New Zealand’s natural wonders spoke to a desire not just to witness change but actively contribute to it.
Together, Abby and Hugo symbolise the dual facets of Tauranga’s youth – one with eyes set on the stars and the other rooted in the rich soil of community and heritage. Their shared platform at the Priority One AGM showcased the power of young voices in shaping the future of a city amid huge growth and transformation.
As the applause for these remarkable young leaders reverberated through the venue, it is evident that Tauranga’s trajectory as a magnet city is not solely determined by infrastructure and development plans but by the dreams, aspirations, and commitment of our young people who will illuminate the path toward a vibrant and inclusive city. The AGM concluded with a collective anticipation of the exciting journey ahead for Tauranga Moana.