Rise issue 11 cover

From the Frontline

MAGNUM TUIPULOTU talks about his position as regional youth development advisor for the Ministry of Youth Development (MYD).

Thumbnail - Magnum

What got you into your current role?

I must have had a really good interview when I first came to MYD in 2008! Seriously though, I have always been involved with young people since I was a young person not so long ago (ahem… 4 years).

Coming into my role at MYD, I was humbled to be given the opportunity to work with young people at a government level and use my strengths to support the growing youth sector.

Have you always wanted to work with youth?

Yes. I was fortunate to have positive role models growing up, with youth leaders and mentors around me. I naturally started to mentor those younger than me, to pass on what I grew up with so they could do the same.

Now I have a role to play in the youth sector. I am still working to support young people through the work I do at MYD and through my community role as a youth leader.

What is an average day for you like?

My days are varied. If we take this year for example, I have been working in Northland on Mondays and Tuesdays on interagency initiatives like Connecting Young People Action Plan and developing a Northland Youth Framework. My regional role involves providing strategic input to interagency initiatives and leading MYD work regionally. To do this, I must have sound youth development knowledge.

Back in Auckland for the rest of the week, there are various collaborative government initiatives that MYD is engaged in, like the Auckland Youth Support Network and the Tamaki Transformation Project. If I have a meeting, I go through a ritual where I will sit down and map out the meeting purpose, my part in the meeting, what I can provide to the group, and so on.

The work I do means providing young people with a voice to the various interagency groups we sit on. We engage with young people directly through MYD's Aotearoa Youth Voices Network.

Do your daughters help inspire your work?

Heck yes. I have a brag wall at my desk with my family photos and drawings from Olive and Scarlet. They are an inspiration to me in my work and in life.

What's the funniest thing that's happened on the job?

MYD was hosting the Prime Minister's Programme final day, an opportunity for the Prime Minister to present participants with their certificates. I was assigned the role of providing the Prime Minister with the certificates on stage.

We introduced ourselves before the presentations; I was towards the end of the line. I kept telling myself, "There is an appropriate etiquette when speaking with the prime minister or cabinet ministers; use the appropriate salutation dude!".

As the Prime Minister is shaking hands with my MYD and MSD colleagues, they said, "Good afternoon, Prime Minister."

When the Honourable John Key gets around to shaking my hand, he comments, "I like your t-shirt, mate."

I even surprised myself when I squeaked out: "Good afternoon, John".

I don’t know whether it is funny from my perspective, but I did make a few of my colleagues laugh!