If we take the insights we gathered from the surveys, workshops and interviews with the young people we spoke to, we could summarise their collective hopes and aspirations for Aotearoa as this:
We want an Aotearoa New Zealand that is clean, green and beautiful. We believe New Zealand should be a country that values diversity, kindness, inclusivity and looking after one another. A country that nurtures life and nature, and takes action on climate change.
We believe every person should have access to great mental health services; affordable, accessible and excellent education; secure fulfilling work with supportive colleagues and employers and warm comfortable secure housing. Our economic system should be fair. Everyone should have enough money to flourish.
People should be able to spend quality time with friends and whānau, and quality time in nature. We should have well-resourced community spaces where we can come together to connect across generations and to people our own age. Places where we can have fun.
We like that New Zealand does not have guns, snakes, high levels of crime or war. We also want an end to racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, xenophobia and homophobia.
We believe young people should be supported to explore their identity, gain a sense of belonging and purpose without feeling pressured. We should learn about other cultures, sexualities and gender identities as a way to build understanding.
We want great role models. We want authentic and consistent people in our lives that encourage us to believe in ourselves and love our bodies.
We want to be taught life skills that will help us succeed in the 21st century, participate as citizens, engage in healthy relationships while also learning about our historic past.
We need people, processes and systems that support our mental, physical, spiritual, economic, cultural and social wellbeing.
When our tamaiti (children) and our taiohi (young people) are living their best lives, Aotearoa is a better place for pāke (adults) and kaumātua (elders) too.
We ask those with the power to make this vision a reality to please do so.