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Developing a Social Justice Resource to Address Youth Marginalisation

Academic Integrity Declaration

1. In submitting this work, I declare that:

2. This assessment has been produced by me (or our group) and represents my own (or our own) work.


3. Any work of another person is appropriately acknowledged and/or referenced.


4. This work did not involve any unauthorised collaboration.


5. This work has not previously been submitted by me or any other person/author, unless authorised.


6. I did not use any other unfair means to complete this work.


7. I/we understand that the above obligations form a part of the University’s regulations and that breaching them may result in disciplinary action.

a. This essay outlines the process of developing a resource to help address a social justice issue found in youth marginalisation. Using social justice principles, the aim of the resource is to enhance citizenship and improve the overall quality of life for the chosen population. The resource is a hui aimed at involving youth participation at a community-wide level. The discussion will provide an overview of the agenda for the hui, detailing the rationale for the key aspects of the hui plan.

a. Health education resources are critical to providing effective interventions that are understood and thus improve access to healthcare and better health outcomes for the target population. The guiding document Rauemi Atawhai: A guide to developing health education resources in New Zealand (Ministry of Health [MOH], 2012) highlights the rights of the “New Zealand people to receive effective communication that enables tangata whaiora to understand the information that is provided” (Right 5) “and to be fully informed” (Right 6) “under the Code of Health and Disability services Consumers Rights Regulation 1996” (p.iii). The Ministry of Health (2012) argue that resources need to be accurate and reflective of Government health policy. Furthermore, resources are to be “socially and culturally inclusive and put together through the research and consultation with intended audiences” (MOH, 2012, p. iii).  The following discussion identifies the process of developing a resource that is aimed at a social justice issue in accordance with this guideline.

Need & Audience

b. To ensure best practice is adhered to, the Ministry of Health (2012) proposed that the goal and need for the resource are established through a review of the literature. In this essay, first a summary will be provided about a community development group in the community to explain the group’s connection with this social justice resource. Examination of the intended audience follows to ensure that the needs of this population are considered throughout the development of this social justice intervention, before contextualising the resource within a wider social justice lens. Finally, the social justice principles are identified to demonstrate how these principles are factored into the resource design.


This resource as a hui will take place at the marae with the tautoko from tangata whenua, an already established community development leadership group. The marae as a significant building in the community will be discussed in the ‘Resource scope’ section. The community development group first established itself in 2017 and is supported by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). The community regularly undergoes an evaluation of its progress as a reporting requirement from the DIA. Most recently, the DIA has identified a gap with youth representation within the community. This prompted a reflection from the community development group itself about strengthening our relationships with young people and supporting their citizenship in the community. Young people are defined as being between the ages of 12-24 and form the target audience for this resource.

Understanding the audience is vital to make sure that the resource is developed in response to the audiences’ need (MOH, 2012). It is important therefore, to identify the populations’ specific needs in order to respond appropriately (MOH, 2012).  

The Ministry of Youth Affairs (2002) definition of youth refers to young people in the age bracket of 12-24 years old. Rangatahi of the same age is a commonly used term to describe Màori youth, but here in Northland, Ngapuhi more commonly refer to this age group as Taitamariki (Ware, 2009). For the purpose of this essay the target audience are referred to as young people/youth interchangeably to be between the ages of 12-24.

Northland statistically have a higher Màori population equating to 64,458 out of an overall population of 188,700 (NZ census 2018/19).  Màori make up one-third of Northland’s total population, and young people account for around 5% of the community overall (NZ census 2018/19).

Broadly speaking, Northland has a much larger older persons population than the national average, with a projected increase to 28% for over 65-year olds in 2028, compared with 21% for the rest of the country (Northland District Health Board, 2019). Ware (2009) argued that ageism is a barrier to younger people’s development because the experience and wisdom assumed of older people is favoured over youth vitality. This is particularly important in the community where this resource is aimed, as the population is predominantly older, and the youth perceive the needs of the older people to dominate the community. 

Wealth and culture also influence diversity in this community. Màori and Pakeha are the dominant cultural groups that reside here, and these two groups are divided in social situations. Màori occupy a part of the community known by the locals as “The Valley” that runs centre alongside the awa (river) and maunga (mountain). This part of the valley does not have sufficient infrastructure to meet the need for good internet access or cell-phone coverage. Pakeha tend to occupy further along the coastline 8 kilometres down from the valley and receive access to infrastructure that supports optimal internet access and cell-phone coverage. Resource disparities have contributed to a community divide that has resulted in an increased sense of hopelessness and whakama for some of the youth (Durie, 1999). This is a worrying trend given our knowledge and understanding around the significant increased risk of suicide for young people which are statistically higher for Màori youth (MOH, 2004). One aim for this hui is that it will reduce hopelessness and empower the local youth to develop problem solving skills that will be transferable across their life course, and that it will help to build resilience and self-efficacy (Bandura, 2002; Durie, 2019). Young people’s capacities to overcome challenges is critical to their positive self-development (Ware, 2019).

Social justice in a broader sense concerns itself with the fair distribution of economic, social, and environmental resources that are necessary for planetary and human survival (Ledwith, 2016). Social injustice occurs as the result of unequal distribution of power and resources and is attributed to a lack of thriving (Ledwith, 2016).

Fraser and Honneth (2003) argued that identity and how we see ourselves in relation to others is important in healthy development. Young people are often perceived as unworthy, and from this lens may develop shame or whakama that manifests itself in symptoms related to depression and anxiety (Munford & Sanders, 2019).

As a registered social worker, a central part of my role is to advocate for social justice. My profession has long championed for recognition of all people through respect of their individual worth and dignity, as a core competency set-out in the professional code of ethics (ANZASW, 2013).

a. The chosen social justice topic for the resource is addressing marginalisation. This resource focuses on the importance of youth participation at a community-wide level.

b. Social marginalisation is described as people, groups or communities outside of mainstream society “living at the margins of those in center of power, of cultural dominance and economical social welfare” (Schiffer & Schatz, 2008, p. 6). Marginalisation for young people in Northland, the area in which I work, is a particular concern. In Northland, young people are marginalised by way of not having a voice, and therefore their citizenship is not being fully recognised. This issue of marginalisation for young people is an issue internationally. Offerdahl et al. (2014) identified that young people are likely to be excluded from decision-making processes resulting from political, economic, and social barriers that prevent their participation. Part of my goal in developing this resource is to have the youth voice represented at a local leadership level so that they are not marginalised and so they can participate and have their citizenship enhanced. Feeling acknowledged and listened to can enhance their sense of belonging (Offerdahl et al., 2014). 

c. As a social justice intervention, this resource as a hui is aimed at involving youth participation at a community-wide level and targets all four social justice principles, in the following context (Ministry of Health, 2012):

d. Access: to information about what’s currently happening in their community through community development, and access to key stakeholders through connecting the younger people with key people in the community to develop collaborative leadership. Furthermore, the hui supports young people with access to peers and a collective voice that could lead to significant changes, that in turn reinforces young people’s self-efficacy, and promotes korero and participation (Bandura, 2002).

Community Development in the Community

e. Equity: The hui was planned to be openly available for all 12-24-year-olds who have connections or whakapapa to the community to increase cultural connections and recognise their citizenship in their community. Also, the design, time for the hui, and advertising have been designed to promote and enable wide attendance within this age group. Fundamentally the hui is about equitable access to human resources in the community to enable better health outcomes for the young people in this community.

f. Participation: The hui is designed to encourage young people to build relationships and connections within the community development group, wider community, iwi and hapu. The hui has been promoted across multiple services and places frequented by young people to support wider participation.

g. Rights: In young people’s right to be heard, right to be respected, rights to be recognised, the right to self-determination, and the right to contribute fully and have equal value as citizens in the community where they belong.

a. This resource at this planning stage comprises of an agenda for a hui aimed at enhancing citizenship, and the overall quality of life for young people in a small rural Northland community. The hui is a two-part process, but the agenda and essay are only attending to stage one. The first stage is bringing young people together and hearing what they would like to see happen in their community, to help them feel more connected. The second stage is an interview type process for appointing two youth leadership roles to the community development group. I will elaborate on the leadership roles below.

b. The community has an already established partnership with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) in response to government policy that supports community development in its regions. The partnership enables communities’ access to flexible funding to support community development in their community. The aim of this initiative is community empowerment through community-led leadership that is supported by the DIA. Following the establishment of the partnership, a community-led development (CLD) group was formed in 2017 which includes group members who were chosen by its community. There are eight members that form the current leadership group (that I am part of), and we are all adults. Our CLD group regularly undergoes evaluation as a responsibility to our partnership for reporting purposes required by the DIA. To this end it was identified from the DIA that there is a gap in the youth representation within the community.

Target Group for the Resource

c. This reflected an observation from the CLD group itself, and as a result, young people have been targeted to understand their ideas about the community, find out what they would like to see happen, and how they might get involved. Furthermore, to enhance young people’s citizenship at a decision-making level, the CLD group will recruit two young people into the CLD group to ensure the youth voice is represented at the community leadership level, and therefore involved in community-led decisions. This could also help clarify and define the details of their community involvement on an ongoing basis. Involving the spectrum of community members in decision making is in line with evidence-based processes. Nikkhah and Redzuan (2009) argued that community development goals should “improve the quality of life of all members of the community” and “involve all members in the process” (p.196).

d. Citizenship and participation are necessary components of belonging and positive development for young people in our communities (Wood, 2013). However, young people are not recognised in our communities in a way that reflects equal citizenship. Neale (2004) argued that participation is among key elements of citizenship, but that young people are not given responsibilities that allow for full participation, and therefore, inclusive citizenship. This concept was also posited by Woods (2013), who found that in a study of young New Zealander’s, community membership validated the citizenship of the young people and therefore their sense of belonging.

e. Young people may understand citizenship in a relational context to be about acceptance and belonging (Ware, 2009). Belonging and citizenship are a fundamental right. Ware (2009) reminds us of our responsibilities to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, article two, it states to protect Màori youth as taonga, and article three identifies equal citizenship. However, young people’s experience of participation in New Zealand is often not taken seriously by adults (Woods, 2013).

Hart (1992) posited that participation is a fundamental right that young people have as citizens of a community. Hart (1992) argued that it may be unrealistic to expect young people to transition into contributing adult citizens without prior knowledge of the necessary skills and responsibilities involved. Young people bring unique perspectives and energy to solving problems and are an asset to be nurtured (Kenyon, 2004). Lansdown (2007) argued that supportive environments are vital for effective youth participation. These environments promote youth to build confidence and put into practice citizenship skills (Lansdown, 2007). Lister (2007) posited that young people have a desire to be involved in civic community matters, but struggle to understand how to be involved.

Defining Social Justice

Bandura (2002) has linked self-efficacy to a relational context in social persuasion where encouragement from others to believe in ourselves reinforces our own positive development. Self-efficacy Yeung et al. (2012) argued, is a component of positive youth citizenship and participation.

Having a sense of belonging is also linked to determinants of substance use disorder (Ford, 2005). Experiencing exclusion in adolescence can contribute to risks for developing a drug-use disorder (Arnot & Swartz, 2012). The process of belonging begins with the emotional attachment and social relationships that an individual establishes in the family/whanau, peer group, and the community (Laftman & Ostberg, 2006; Newman et al., 2007). Consequently, lack of acceptance and attachment to these groups can increase risks of develop substance-related problems (Ford, 2005).

a. The Ministry of Health (2012) suggest developing a consultation plan in accordance with the target audience. Two key stakeholders were consulted prior to the development of this resource; a child and family social worker, and most of the young people in the community.

b. The social worker has a professional and personal link to the area and was optimistic about the hui and stated “I think that including the youth is really important for future proofing their interest in the community. I think this hui will increase their sense of belonging and will install hope in them for their own wh?nau. I also think it will empower them to realise that they have a voice, their opinion matters, and people want to listen to their perspective. I am glad that it is kanohi te kanohi (face-to-face) as this is culturally important and will help connect the youth and kaumatua. I believe too much these days people rely on the internet and assume everyone has access to these resources. In this area that is a barrier for many Màori who live in the part of the community without good signal / internet and phone connection and many sit in their cars up the road to even make calls – this is a definite divide within the community, as the more affluent parts only kilometres away have all the modern services and the more affluent area is predominantly Pakeha people so it is another example to Màori, youth especially that they have less and their needs are less important.”

c. Increasing the young people’s sense of belonging was viewed as a long-term, community-wide investment from the social worker’s perspective, “Giving a voice to youth is a way of promoting a safer and more appealing future for us all. I believe this initiative will build confidence and then the young people will naturally participate more and share their views. We cannot expect them to stay in the area and invest in it if they do not feel connected so this mahi also strengthens wh?nau, iwi and hapu as people will want to stay and see and realise their potential in themselves and their community.”

d. The young people had positive responses also when we met as a group. One of them said it “sounds good”. Another young person said that they were keen to develop their leadership and are glad to have a chance to be involved. There was consensus that this was something to look forward to in their community. There was lots of excitement about being provided kai, and much feedback about what kai to bring to the hui.

a. The hui considers the importance of belonging and the health literacy of the young people attending through citizenship. Citizenship in health literacy involves shifting individual perspectives to a social lens in health matters (Broder et al., 2017). An all-inclusive approach to health helps us to be more tolerant of others and supports an understanding for cultural diversity in health matters (Broder et al., 2017). To this end, a collective approach to health is supported as a key goal for community development reiterated previously, as improving the quality of life for all people (Nikkhah & Redzuan, 2009). Therefore, a collective approach can increase individual and community well-being (Todd, 2010).

b. From a more broader lens, health literacy has been defined in a New Zealand study as “the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services in order  to make informed and appropriate health decisions” (Ministry of Health [MOH], 2010, p. iii). A review of the health literacy literature about youth confirmed the experiences from our community that Màori living rurally were one of the highest need groups having lower than required health literacy (MOH, 2012). Therefore, Màori may be ill equipped for the health challenges they may face (MOH, 2010).

c. Self-efficacy has been linked to health literacy, described as a belief in one’s capacity to accomplish goals linked to health-related matters. Broder et al. (2017) argued that self-efficacy is fundamental to health literacy in young people and children (Broder et al., 2017).

d. The health literacy needs of the youth in our community were key in designing the hui. In line with recommendations from Rauemi Atawhai (MOH, 2012), I canvased the knowledge that the youth already had to inform the hui plan. This knowledge led to the inclusion of Purakau Maui (discussed in the ‘Resource scope’ section) as a metaphor for promoting better health among the youth hui participants.

a. This section will reiterate the purpose and goal of the hui and provide an explanation of the key elements outlined in the agenda (MOH, 2012).

b. The resource is a hui aimed at involving youth participation at a community-wide level. Pere (2003) posited that the term ‘hui’ has several meanings including ‘gathering’ and ‘meeting people’. The purpose of this hui is twofold; firstly, to bring young people together to help them feel more connected to the community, and secondly, to listen and understand their views about what they would like to see happen in their community. The hui will take place at the marae centred within the community valley. Durie (1999) posited that marae remains the only link that many Màori have to a worldly identity. In reference to health, Durie (1999) argued that the marae can prepare people psychologically to think and behave better in matters pertaining to health. For example, tapu was likened to health regulations to avoid danger, and the process of noa to eating healthy kai together (Durie, 1999). Pere (2003) argued that despite the effects of colonisation, the marae remains a central meeting place in Màori society. Tauroa and Tauroa (1986) suggested a spiritual facade to be the most important aspect of the marae; “Ko te Marae taku turangawaewae” is the standing place of tangata whenua (Tauroa & Tauroa,1986, p.19). To that end, the marae is in part about a sense of belonging and connection, and therefore an appropriate venue for this hui.

c. There are two key aspects that need to be considered for this hui; the protocol while on marae, and the hui agenda. The hui agenda also includes important processes including; opening with karakia, connecting with whakawhanaungatanga, engagement and understanding their perspectives using k?rero p?r?kau (Màori myth), and formally closing the hui with whakamutunga. These concepts will be discussed next.

The following outline gives a brief summary of the protocol as suggested by Tauroa and Tauroa (1986) to be followed on the marae before expanding on the key elements outlined on the hui agenda (see Appendix 1 for hui agenda). This is a very brief introduction to components of the marae gathering:

1. Tapu: relates to restrictions that are in place before and during welcome and governs behaviour on the marae.


2. Tangata whenua: Local Màori as the hosts determine the kawa of the marae. They will prepare for the manuhiri (guests) to arrive including preparing kai to share after the formal gathering. The younger wh?nau (tangata) are included as hosts.


3. Manuhiri: Includes the visitors as other young people in the community and their families/wh?nau have been asked to assemble at the gate


4. where they will be greeted by tangata whenua and will be asked to select a speaker from their group to respond to whaikorero once on the marae.


5. Te Karanga: Karanga (call) the manuhiri on to the marae where they will be directed to the left side to be seated. The left side is tapu, right is noa (Durie, 1999).


6. Nga whai korero: Kaumatua (revered elder) will speak (in general terms about the hui) followed by a waiata tautoko.


7. Manuhiri will respond, followed by a waiata. Tangata may support if needed.


8. Hariru: Tangata will invite manuhiri across the paepae (area where whaikorero) takes place) to hongi and greet one another in reference to unity.


9. Whakanoa: Formalities are now complete, restrictions and tapu are lifted. Manuhiri and tangata are unified for the time period of this hui.

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