Local focus: the village of Tautua is building a better future

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The village of Tautua in Gisborne was created as a safe space for young people, says Malia Patea-Taylor.

Tautua is a philosophy of life.

Direct your service to your community, your people, your land, your ocean and your gods.

Tautua Village in Gisborne was created with this kaupapa at its heart.

Malia Patea-Taylor, director and founder of Tautua Village, saw a need in the community to create a safe space for young people.

“When I look at these young people, I want them to just live the best life and a life without unnecessary barriers,” she said.

“We’ve seen a lot of kids who have developed anxiety and depression because of bullying, rejection or gross stuff.

“I want these kids to be able to live a life without it.”

With her background in education, Patea-Taylor has seen many children become disengaged, feeling ignored and feeling like they don’t fit in.

“I just thought maybe we should listen to them and help them understand what they want to get into,” she said.

With this in mind and seeing her child go through these issues, Tautua Village was born.

As a Samoan Māori, Patea-Taylor was well aware of the negative health and education statistics for young Maori and Pasifika, but saw the village of Tautua as a space to help bring about change.

“It was important for me to say that we are going to be reactive on this subject.

“We are not these negative statistics and we have solutions,” she said.

Youth who attend during the day are enrolled in e-learning.

Tautua Youth Councilor Mahina Tauatuvalu said Tautua Village was a safe space, where everyone was welcome.

“They make you feel like part of the family when you are part of this community in Tautua village,” Tauatuvalu said.

Patea-Taylor said working with young people was not for everyone, but recommended that those who wanted to work with young people take the time to think about whether they were making the right decision.

“I say this because young people deserve good, committed people who will build their self-esteem,” she said.

Tautua Village Director Callum McCready has worked in alternative education for over 13 years after teaching at the secondary level.

He said mainstream education was not for everyone, including himself.

“I pulled out of the mainstream because I’m not a mainstream person. I didn’t fit,” he said.

McCready said he decided to work with the kids who also didn’t fit into mainstream school – the “bit tutū” and the “fun”.

Her role at Tautua Village is to find pathways for young people to succeed in a formalized educational outcome, using Tautua Village’s way of being youth-focused instead of outcome-focused.

“So it depends on what we determine as successful.

“What does success look like for individuals?

“It could be NCEA for someone, and it could be quitting cutting for someone else.”

McCready said the ultimate goal of working with young people is generational change.

“To equip young people with the skills they need to succeed in life, so that two, three generations from now, we don’t look at the cycle we’re facing now.”

Kaea Horsfall was looking for a place to hang out after school and the village of Tautua was the perfect place for him to pursue his musical talents.

He met Malia and she introduced him to The Sesh, a concert organized by Tautua Village showcasing the musical talents of rangatahi in Tairawhiti.

“So I did The Sesh last year and it went pretty well,” Horsfall said.

Horsfall is partially sighted and said the village of Tautua was “one of the most positive places I have been to”.

“There are people to hang out with, there are lots of things to do and that makes me really happy,” he said.

For more details see their website www.tautuavillage.com

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