Tuesday 19th October, 10 – 11 am.

Hosted by Denise Bijoux and Talei Bryant, our panel of speakers profiled how Rangatahi are leading locally. Their experience, what they are doing in places across the motu, the changes they are making, what is helping their mahi and the challenges they face. We also discussed how organisations and agencies can support this leadership. What they need to do to ahwi and amplify support for young people to turn their ideas into reality, and have an impact in their community and on a global level.

Talei Bryant

Kia Ora , Ni sa Bula vinaka.

Hey everyone my name is Talei Bryant I am 24 years old, born in Nelson, bred in the Waimana Gorge. I am Fijian Pakeha and am the eldest of 4. 
I grew up surrounded by fruit trees and forests with a beautiful river in our back yard. Since I was young I have always loved the outdoors and because we had no wifi we had to make our fun with whatever we found. That turned into wars with rotten fruit, building bonfires and swimming till it was dark in summer. 

I have always loved trying new things and this has led me to many different roles such as working as a forklift operator in Australia, running a fish and chip shop and working as a factory hand for Sanford fishing company. My love for my whānau and community brought me back home in 2018 where I found my passion for working with rangatahi and over time have gained the skills to work for rangatahi in a range of different ways. 

I currently work part-time at Sport Bay of Plenty as the Recreation Connector and the Electoral Commission as the Youth Advocate. I run the Whakatāne Future Leaders programme through Inspiring Stories and have been blessed to do some wicked mahi with Ara Taiohi as a part of their Rangatahi Regeneration programme and delivering Mana Taiohi workshops across the motu. 

Through this mahi I created the Fish Your Fish movement with the support of friends and now we are out here running our own programmes after 2 1/2 years. We run free workshops and programmes and are working on small enterprises to fund these so that we don’t have to rely on funding while also providing work experience for rangatahi in our community. 

I love my mahi and working with like-minded people. I always dreamed of having a job that allowed me to travel across our beautiful country while still living in Whakatāne. In my spare time, I hang with my dog and coach girls volleyball at Whakatāne High School, work in my garden and relax at home. 

The best part about this mahi is the look on people’s faces when they step out of their comfort zone and enjoy it, complete a project, try a new experience or make a new friend. It fuels me to keep going and ensuring rangatahi have a voice in their community and stuff to do to keep them active, excited and connected.

Read more here about the Inspiring Stories Future Leaders Programme

Gemma Slack

Gemma is an award-winning leader who for the past five years has worked in young adult communities with social innovation tools. She co-founded Seed Waikato in 2017, a human potential charity focused on making personal development accessible. She’s passionate about developing young leaders and offers a range of mentoring and training programmes for people to find sanctuary within and realise their true ambitions. 

Harnessing CLD as a practice, Gemma convened a diverse group of young people in 2020 to understand how they might address inequities in the local youth sector. Te Aka Matua was born, a kaupapa led by young people for young people to transform the sector from the inside out.

Gemma is a proud recipient of Hamilton City Council’s 2020 Civic Award, and was also recognised by the Council in 2018 with a 30 under 30 Award. Gemma’s always learning something new, and after completing her micro-credential in community-led development, she’s undergoing training to gain her certification in trauma recovery coaching. 

A systems-thinker who is passionate about self-leadership, Gemma sits on the Board of Philanthropy New Zealand and is part of their Youth Advisory Group. Gemma was part of the founding team at Momentum Waikato, the region’s community foundation. In the four years she worked for the foundation, she grew a heart for strategic philanthropy, developing services for donors, strategies to grow the fund, and launched Waikato Vital Signs.

Madiha Ali Changezi

Kia ora, my name is Madiha Ali Changezi and I wear different hats. I am currently a full-time Law student at the University of Waikato while I work part-time as a youth worker at Shama Hamilton Ethnic Women’s Trust. My role requires facilitating programmes in order to support ethnic youth from migrant and refugee backgrounds to integrate into Aotearoa, to advocate for ethnic youth voices to be heard and to amplify those voices. 

In addition to that, I am on the National Advisory Board of the Red Cross as well as a Committee Member of Seed Waikato and a Board Member of Same Skies International

I have a deep passion for storytelling, amplifying youth and marginalized voices, advocating for diversity and making a difference in the world. I also consider myself to be an advocate; advocate for issues that matter to me but most importantly, advocate for kindness and making this world a better and kinder place to live for all. I strongly believe in using my voices and privileges to bring the change that I am so passionate about. 

Guy Ryan

Guy is an award-winning entrepreneur, leader and speaker. He is an Edmund Hillary Fellow, was awarded Young New Zealander of the Year in 2015, and has represented New Zealand at various international summits and leadership development opportunities.
Guy grew up in a tiny village on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island called Granity. He played every sport possible, was far too competitive, and often too cheeky. He was the first in his family to study at University, completing a double degree in design and commerce, and then a Masters in Science Communication from the University of Otago. The documentary he co-produced as part of his Masters
– Carving the Future – followed four young New Zealanders taking action on climate change and environmental issues, and went on to win awards and screen in over 50 countries.
In 2011, Guy founded Inspiring Stories – a Kiwi charity with a bold vision to back young people to change
the world. From an initial one-off grant of $80,000 from the Vodafone Foundation, Inspiring Stories now turns over more than $1M in annual revenues and operates with a team of staff in 10 communities nationwide.

Key initiatives include New Zealand’s largest social innovation summit, Festival for the Future; The Impact Awards, which celebrates young New Zealanders making a difference with $30,000 in prizes; and the year-round Future Leaders programme, which is changing lives for a diverse range of young people in some of New Zealand’s most challenged rural and provincial communities.
What began with a bold vision to back young people to change the world, has become an intergenerational
movement for impact. Outside of work Guy is a father with two young boys, loves adventure, surfing and skateboarding