By Bridget Kelly
Veisinia Maka has a few things she would change about the world, but for now, she’s
starting in Howick.
Maka, 20, has been named as the 2017 Howick representative for the Youth Advisory Panel.
It’s not her first time working with the council either – she’s been on the youth council since she was 15 in an “open-seat” capacity.
“I have this passion for young people, and their voices,” said Maka. “When you’re passionate it resonates with people, for some reason people believe in me.”
Her most urgent concern is the transparency lacking between the generations, and between council and youth.
The council is consulting with young people through surveys, and without face to face meetings Maka believes they’re losing the real connection and not finding out what the youth
really need. She is prepared to make a difference though. “I love influencing people,
I like a challenge.” This will not be the first challenge for Maka either, she recently volunteered for the UN, helping plan their national Aotearoa Youth Declaration conference.
She wants to see Howick have a youth centre where young people can come and connect with each other, instead of going into the city.
“I’d like for there to be a place for young people to come together- a place where people can connect.”
Maka also hopes to increase the youth turn out when it comes to voting for elections.
“I hope to really try to connect with groups, find some sort of way where I’m able to connect with young people in innovative ways.”
The council received 223 applications for the 21 positions, which represent the 21 local board areas.
The role of the youth advisory panel is to offer advice on Auckland Council’s regional policies, plans and strategies reflecting the interest of young people in Auckland.
Maka, who resides in Botany Junction, is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Auckland, majoring in economics with a minor in politics.
She will be taking over 2016 Howick rep Mackenzie Valgre, who helped inspire her to apply for the role.
“She was a huge inspiration for me. We’re still friends to this day,” said Maka.
Maka aspires to work for the United Nations one day.
“Helen Clark is my inspiration. For a really long time I have been incredibly interested in international relations,” said Maka. She feels privileged to have been accepted to this position, and have the chance to inspire and be the voice for Howick youth. “I’d love to find my place in terms of what I can improve for young people.