Community Kōrero: Celebrating Youth Leadership 2024

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Aotearoa New Zealand’s Rangatahi Leadership Opportunities Database (RLOD), launched during Youth Week 2022, seeks to break down the information barrier that many young people face in accessing information about what opportunities are out there and how to apply. This challenge is particularly pronounced among young people from migrant backgrounds, first-generation students, and those attending lower decile schools.

10th of May 2024  marked the second anniversary of the launch of the Rangatahi Leadership Opportunities Database (RLOD) – two years dedicated to making information on youth leadership more transparent, fair, and accessible for all rangatahi in Aotearoa New Zealand.

On the 22nd May, as part of Youth Week 2024, Multiethnic Young Leaders NZ – the team behind the Rangatahi Leadership Opportunities Database (RLOD) – hosted the RLOD’s first public virtual event, Community Kōrero: Celebrating Youth Leadership 2024

Gathering a diverse mix of community members, this event celebrated and discussed the past, present, and future of youth leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand. The event was attended by young leaders (over two thirds of attendees), as well as youth mentors/coaches, opportunity providers, Ministry and government agency representatives, and other members of the public. A quarter of attendees had never heard about the RLOD before the event. 

The event kicked off with a moving young leaders’ panel moderated by Vira Paky, a first-gen Congolese-Kiwi working with youth and diverse communities across Aotearoa, alongside:

  • Jess Jenkins – a passionate advocate for rangatahi empowerment, Harvard University student, and co-founder of Multiethnic Young Leaders NZ
  • Leilani Faaiuaso – a Palmerston-based 3rd generation New Zealand-born Samoan, and Youth Board Trustee with Young Enterprise Trust
  • Ali Muhammad – a former refugee focused on political engagement and finalist at the 2023 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards


The panel of young leaders explored a broad range of topics including identity, their individual leadership journeys, self-care and wellbeing, ways communities can support young people, and their hopes for youth leadership in Aotearoa. The panel expressed a resounding call for action: listen, trust, and invest in young people. Equally, they shared hope about the future of youth leadership – thanks to greater visibility of youth in Parliament, youth leaders, and platforms for youth-led decision-making. 

The panel was followed by group kōrero with attendees facilitated by our panellists. This kōrero invited further reflection on the barriers to youth leadership, including safety, especially for marginalised youth, and enabling young people to create spaces to lead. 

The event concluded with a reflection from Marie Ysabel Landingin, Project Lead for the RLOD. The project has continued to evolve and grow from strength to strength. It has garnered widespread backing and support from various sectors, including government agencies, youth and community organisations, schools, and the broader community of rangatahi in Aotearoa.

The anniversary event was a volunteer-powered effort led by Lushomo Thebe, a trailblazing Zambian-Kiwi leader and young woman reshaping Aotearoa through her law, governance, and community work. The event was also MC’ed by Shahin Najak, an activist focused on the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on women and communities of colour. It was generously supported by the wider community in the youth leadership landscape, including the Ministry for Youth Development. 

For more info, check out our post-event resources, check out:


About MYLN

MYLN (Multiethnic Young Leaders NZ) is a network of ethnically diverse young leaders between the ages of 18 and 35 who are committed to strengthening social cohesion, championing ethnic and intersectional diversity in leadership, and empowering diverse young New Zealanders.