A University of Otago, Wellington, study has found that youth in Porirua City need better co-ordination, collaboration and increased funding for amenities.
The BLITZ study, led by Dr Ramona Tiatia (He Kainga Oranga/Healthy Housing Research Programme), developed an app to survey around 100 children and youth, 100 whānau, and service providers.
“We surveyed youth on whether they saw themselves living, working and building careers in Porirua in the next decade, and whether they and their whānau were being supported well enough by public and community services,” says Tiatia.
Smoking, bullying/cyber-bullying and alcohol were identified by youth as the biggest problems, whereas adults thought that boredom/not enough to do, lack of affordable activities, and not enough art or cultural activities were significant issues.
“Porirua's a strong community which takes pride in its city with youth groups, churches and schools often co-ordinating services and activities, but they do not have enough funding or resources. To achieve social sector change, the city's youth need better facilities and affordable activities,” says Tiatia.
With a higher youth population than other New Zealand cities, (26.2 per cent under 15, compared to 21.5 per cent for all New Zealand, and a median age of 32.6 compared to 35.9), Porirua was ideal for this study.
The BLITZ study is part of the wider Porirua Social Sector Trial established four years ago to trial new approaches to social sector change through inter-agency collaboration, co-ordination and communication to targeted communities.
The results of the study have been made available to Oranga Tamariki (Ministry for Vulnerable Children).