16 year old Takahue student Nina Griffiths joined Far North Raiders to “support my community and every young person that I can against bullying and to prevent suicide.”

Te Hiku Hauora is committed to supporting taitamariki (youth) and one way of doing this is through the Far North Raiders group.

The group is made up of taitamariki between 13-17 years old and led by the kaupapa of building awareness and resilience against youth suicide and bullying.

The group has been meeting regularly since their official launch at Waitangi Day celebrations in Waitangi this year.

Taitamariki are taught skills in running meetings, setting agendas, public speaking and promoting their kaupapa, and supporting other organisations and events in their community.

Chardae says “The initiative is very much youth-led and youth-driven. I assist with organisation and management but I mainly stand back and allow taitamariki to drive it all.”

She says the group has gone from strength to strength and now come to her with ideas for events they would like to organise or assist with.

According to Tania Papali’i, Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the Northland District Health Board, there have been no youth suicide deaths in Te Hiku since 2013.

Te Hiku Hauora Mobile Nursing manager Angela Keung-Hobson attributes part of this to programmes such as Far North Raiders being run in Te HIku.

“There is a real need for highlighting depression and bullying and how much that contributes to suicidal thoughts and self-harm” says Angela. “But programmes such as this require financial support to continue. We are always looking for sponsorship and welcome any support offered.”

Next week is Youth Week 2015 with the theme ‘Kō tātau te ao o āpōpō/We are the future’.

Youth Week is about recognising the amazing contributions and achievements of young people in Aotearoa.

Far North Raiders will have a strong presence during Youth Week; running an Anti-Bullying Workshop at Kaitaia College on May 26, focussing on Far North Schools’ bullying procedures and policies from a youth perspective, attending the Youth Expo at Te Ahu Centre on May 27 and the Skate Bowl event on May 30.

Any youth interested in joining the group or finding out how Far North Raiders can help them and their whanau, please contact Chardae at Te Hiku Hauora ph 408 4024 or email chardaed@tehikuhauora.nz