As Māori, we often find it hard to talk about ourselves (You know that Kumara story, right?). But we’ll give it a go. So, our names are Pahemata and Rahiri and we are the founders of Project Rangatahi.
This kaupapa began when we were offered the incredible opportunity to head over to San Fransisco with NZQA and Callaghan Innovation in 2016. Without going too much into it, it was an eye-opening experience that truely opened the world for two girls from a town with a population of 4,000 going to a city of over 860,000. We were also honored to have been supported by our iwi, local Taiwhenua as well as our wider community.
After returning home in Aotearoa, we were constantly asked about the trip and told how amazing of an opportunity this was for our whole town. But the realization came to us our community rarely sees opportunities like this for our rangatahi, especially those who don’t have the relationships that we are lucky enough to have outside of out pāpori. But, we came back inspired and ready to take on the world and all its injustices (Cue Superman theme song).
But as time went on, the bright lightbulb hovering over our heads began to dim. Now, flash forward to the beginning of 2018. An already huge year, with Rahiri in her final year of her first degree and Pahemata beginning her Diploma and both in our final year at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu o Te Wairoa. During the Christmas holidays we came across the new Business Enterprise class through the EIT Trades Academy. When discussing whether we should join the class our conversation went something like this: “Hm, EIT has a business enterprise class.” “Would you look at that, are you busy this year?” *Looks at calender* “Yeah, pretty hectic” “Same same” “I mean it would be a challenge” “Would be easier not to” “Yeah, you’re right.” “Well I’m keen” *Mutual nodding*. So if you are looking two slightly insane teenagers, ‘Kia Ora!’.
And that our dear reader along with a few epiphanies, is how Project Rangatahi came to be.
Nā Pahemata rāua ko Rahiri Makuini