For 22 years Partners Porirua has been inspiring local rangatahi to get the most out of life. That’s meant supporting thousands of young people into jobs, into further learning, to get their drivers licence and much more.
In early November (2022) the organisation celebrated the milestone in its brand-new premises at 3A Cobham Court – a strategic move in more ways than one, says Executive Director Michelle Robinson – who is standing aside after 22 years at the helm.
The new building brings all facets of the organisation back under one roof and provides a great space, a bright light, for young people to come to – a place where they are valued and can feel right at home.
The building is also soon to house The 502 Rangatahi Ora service delivering free primary healthcare and social services to Porirua youth aged 10-24. The service is operated by Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira in partnership with Partners Porirua.
Work, education and training for young people
Ms Robinson says that when she first came on board at Partners Porirua students failed to see the relevance of what they were learning at school with life out in the ‘real world’.
Through strong relationships that have been built with educators and local employers all this has changed with hundreds of young people being supported each year into work and further education or training. A further 350 young people pass their drivers licences each year through the Drive 4 Life programme – breaking down one of the most significant barriers to employment.
The addition of the Tupu Aotearoa programme in 2020 was welcomed as an opportunity to cement relationships in the Pacific community and focus on supporting Pacific youth. This was acknowledged by the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Rt Hon Aupito William Sio, who attended the celebrations.
Minister Sio said the median age for Pacific People is 23 years (the rest of New Zealand is 38 years) and that these young people will be the future taxpaying population. “We have to do everything to make sure that every young person achieves their fullest potential.” That means investing in targeted approaches for Pacific young people, he said.
Salā Henry Samia takes over as General Manager
For Partners Porirua it’s the start of a new era as Ms Robinson hands over the reins to Salā Henry Samia who is taking over the General Manager role.
Ms Robinson says there’s nothing better than handing over the leadership to someone who is embedded in their community, is a strategic thinker and most importantly a people person.
Mr Samia says he has big shoes to fill but is looking forward to working with his talented colleagues to continue making a difference every day.
“If you want to go fast go on your own, if you want to go far go together,” says Mr Samia.