New Zealand Rural Women’s Regional Conference in Taranaki focuses on the future
Nelson Pulotu spoke at the conference about the work that Tūtaki Youth is doing in the community. Photo / Ilona Hanne
Last Friday’s wintry weather did not deter Taranaki members of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) from attending the group’s regional conference.
The conference, which took place at Stratford War Memorial Hall, featured a series of guest speakers including Juliet Vickers, Deputy Head of Central School, Te Kura Waenga o Ngāmotu, who spoke about the challenges and changes in the education.
Juliet studied to become a teacher by correspondence at Massey University after seeing a classified ad in an agricultural magazine. She said it was the first course in the world to offer distance teacher training. She spoke to the group about how education has changed over the years, with these changes impacting everything from how students learn to the layout of schools and classrooms and the subjects offered.
Where earlier learning focused on the “three Rs” – reading, writing and arithmetic, 21st century learning now focuses on the “4 Cs”, she said.
“The four Cs are collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.”
Changing the way children learn is vital because the world they will live in has changed. With more than half of the jobs young people are likely to be employed in as adults, teachers must prepare children for a world they can barely imagine, she said.
Juliet wasn’t the only guest speaker discussing the importance of understanding what tamariki need in adults as they navigate today’s world. In the morning, members heard from Nelson Pulotu, Police Project Manager and Managing Director of Tūtaki Youth. Nelson spoke about a range of social issues facing young people today, from housing and financial issues to school truancy.
He talked about how he tries to bridge the gap between the police and the tamariki, making connections and building relationships by spending time with young people and listening. He recalled sitting in a sandbox and playing with a group of toddlers, saying the hardest part was “taking off my police hat when I left”.
The Tūtaki Youth team is behind many successful initiatives in the community focused on improving outcomes for young people, he said. From cooking classes and vacation programs to volunteering time in the gym and one-on-one mentoring, it’s all about giving time and listening, he said.
“As a cop, I always look for the good in people. And in kids, they have good in abundance. It’s about seeing it and encouraging it.”
It was not just the future of youth in the spotlight at the conference, but also the future plans of Rural Women New Zealand, with RWNZ National Finance Chair Jenny McDonald the other guest speaker for the day. .
Although Jenny had traveled from her home in Mid Canterbury for the conference, she was familiar with Stratford, she said, having lived in the district for seven years some time ago.
“I met my husband Mark in 1984 at the Stratford Hotel bar.”
Jenny spoke to the group about Rural Women New Zealand’s new strategic plan and how the organization plans to continue to “connect with our communities and each other”.
It was about moving with the times and finding ways to connect with new members as well as retain current members, she said.
New initiatives include the launch of a podcast series, Black Heels and Tractor Wheels, hosted by Emma Higgins and Claire Williamson, and featuring interviews with a range of Kiwi women, including 2018 Dairy Woman of the Year Loshni Manikam and Rowena Duncam who is the executive producer of NZME’s rural radio show The Country.
This is to ensure that Rural Women New Zealand continues to be “the glue that holds our communities together”, she said. Other initiatives include the Activator program, which Jenny described as “a friendly version of Dragons Den”, where women entrepreneurs and rural innovators can pitch their ideas to a panel of experts and get support and advice. support to take their idea to the next stage.
The conference also included morning tea and lunch, giving attendees the chance to have informal conversations with each other and continue to network and bond, before the afternoon ends with light entertainment. in the form of a sketch.