In 2018 a group of young people formed a working group (Youth Participation Platform Working Group or YPPWG) with support from the Environment Canterbury Youth Engagement and Education Team (YEET) and funding from the Ministry of Youth Development.
The goal of this group was to establish a platform for young people and decision-makers at Environment Canterbury to work together. This bought to life the aspirations, conversations and ideas that have been developed over the course of two years.
As a result, the Youth Rōpū met for the first time in May 2019. Members share an interest in the environment, developing their leadership skills and being part of an exciting team of young people that make a difference.
The Youth Rōpū are made up from two representatives from each of our seven constituencies and two mana whenua representatives. Therefore we have 16 members.
The constituencies are:
- North Canterbury/Ōpukepuke
- South Canterbury/Ōtuhituhi
- Christchurch North East/Ōrei
- Christchurch West/Ōpuna
- Christchurch Central/Ōhoko
- Christchurch South/Ōwhanga
This interactive map will help you establish which constituency you are in.
We are looking for 15 representatives: one in North Canterbury, two in the other six constituencies and two mana whenua.
The seven constituency representatives must live in, go to school or work in, or be from that area.
The mana whenua representative must come from the Canterbury area.
The Youth Rōpū follows a traditional committee structure with a chair, deputy chair and secretary which are elected by the group at the start of each year.
To deliver on the group's priority areas, members opt-in to a variety of ongoing and project-based teams. Examples of these teams include:
- Social media – responsible for planning and running social media activities and posts
- Coordination – responsible for the internal organisation of the Youth Rōpū
- Partnerships – project-based team focused on building relationships with other youth organisations
- Water Zone Committees – project-based team working to implement youth representatives on Canterbury Water Zone Committees.
Members must attend every face-to-face and online meeting. However, an apology must be submitted if unable to attend. If no apology is received for three meetings, an Environment Canterbury Youth Rōpū Executive Member or an Environment Canterbury staff member will be in contact.
Youth Rōpū members have a monthly meeting with Councillors to develop a shared understanding of the issues and opportunities that will shape the region for future generations, and to develop ways to influence them for the better.
All members must be part of a project-based team and these will vary depending on the group’s interest.
Commitment is to a two-year term, unless reasonable notice is provided.
At the end of their term, a member can go through the application process for another one- or two-year term and can continue to apply for consecutive terms until they turn 25 years of age. They must step down at the first recruitment period after their 25th birthday.
The Environment Canterbury Youth Rōpū exists to build a two-way relationship between young people and Environment Canterbury to empower each other to be good kaitiaki of our environment.
- Information is attainable for young people: The EYR helps Environment Canterbury share attainable information to young people to inform them in a meaningful way about what is happening at Environment Canterbury and how they can participate.
- Young people know how they can make a difference: The EYR helps young people to understand how they can make a difference, so people of our generation can demand the change they want and/or need.
- Youth empowerment is recognised and accounted for across regional and national sectors: The EYR advocates for youth representation and empowerment throughout Waitaha and wider Aotearoa New Zealand by being an active participant in cross-sectoral conversations and events, and supporting the creation of youth roles in all networks and sectors.
- Environment Canterbury incorporates youth voices into decision making: The EYR provides a pathway for Environment Canterbury to receive the fresh and sustainable perspective that young people bring.
- Young people can engage with their regional councillors: The EYR allows young people to engage with elected representatives in a way that moves beyond tokenism.
- Respect – We are committed to valuing each person’s view and making all feel welcome and included.
- Passion – We are committed to being positive and motivated by our purpose.
- Kaitiakitanga – We are committed to caring for the things that are precious to us, particularly our natural resources and each other.
- Resilience – We are committed to being determined and adaptable, and, helping each other through the hard times.
- Integrity – We are committed to doing things for the right reasons and upholding our promises.
You will gain insight into the Regional Council, be provided with opportunities for personal and professional development, and be invited to youth and environmental events.
You can expect a bullying, harassment and discrimination free workplace, and Environment Canterbury staff to be available to provide support with any concerns or issues that arise.
The EYR prioritises giving a youth voice to the following areas:
- Advice to Councillors and staff – to inform process and decisions
- Attend Environment Canterbury meetings of relevance – to be a youth voice and presence
- Consultations and submissions – to influence decisions being made
- Social media – to engage a wide range of young people in relevant issues
- Organising events – to foster youth engagement with relevant issues.
- Learning and Development opportunities – Youth Rōpū members will be given relevant opportunities to upskill throughout their time as a member.
- Developed foundation document and kaupapa
- Established @ecan_youth_ropu Instagram page
- Hosted the iSpeak Youth Connect on the Zero Carbon Act event in partnership with PYLAT (Pacific Young Leaders and Transformation Council) and Youth Voice Canterbury
- Co-wrote a submission on the Zero Carbon Act and presented to the Select Committee
- Supported the Christchurch Youth Council Amazing Race Event
- Established relationship with Environment Canterbury Councillors and how to work together
- Attended briefings on key Environment Canterbury portfolios
- Successfully advocated for youth members to be added as community members to Canterbury Water Zone Committees, with several Youth Rōpū members already having or soon to be appointed to their local committees
- Engaged with and provided advice to Council on Environment Canterbury's 2020 Annual Plan.