Support for Rangitahi Gains Momentum

14th of December, 2018

In October the Aviva Youth service celebrated two years of operation with a celebration event involving many of the young people who the service had supported.

Youth ambassadors helped organise the event, which they named Momentum to represent the forward journey they are all on. They met with staff on a fortnightly basis in the months leading up to the event to undertake its planning and delivery including designing the invitation, meeting with an artist that Aviva had commissioned to celebrate the young people’s journey, and writing a Waiata and WhakataukÄ« to perform at the celebration.

Momentum provided an additional opportunity for young people, their whānau and professionals to feedback their experiences with the Youth Service, as well as celebrating the achievements of both the Service and the service users. Attendees at the celebration also contributed to the artwork by adding leaves containing quotes and inspiration.   

An important element of the celebration, and of the ethos of the service was encouraging communities to talk about family violence and how we can work together to address it. A special guest speaker was Matt Brown from My Father’s Barber, who shared how he achieves that goal every day in his business. Matt knows the importance of talking and connection, and how that can be hard to find for young people, and for men as well. He makes his business a safe place for people to share and be supported by Matt and his team, whilst getting amazing haircuts.

Matt shared his own experiences of living an ‘unsafe childhood’. Matt’s earliest memory of Christmas is as three-year-old witnessing his drunk dad pick up the Christmas tree and beat his mother with it. He remembered how violence wasn’t talked about and was considered a private issue. “No-one intervened or offered assistance, even when they saw the black eyes on mum.” Despite years of physical and emotional abuse his message was one of an inspiring journey, of breaking the cycle of family violence and of achieving his dreams. Now a successful barber, loving husband and doting dad, Matt is a n example of how you can create your own path. “If you want to change the narrative of your life, you can. Where you start out in life doesn’t have to be where you finish.” That is the power of momentum.

An evaluation of the Youth Service, including feedback from the young people themselves, will be available on the Aviva website in December.