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Authentic youth participation approach for GPS 2016

For the Le Va team, GPS stands for Growing Pasifika Solutions – and is the name for our conference series, which began in 2012.

Since that first GPS conference, it has grown and evolved its area of focus; from solutions for the whole of health approach to Pasifika, to Pasifika families. With the upcoming GPS 2016 conference, the attention is now on Pasifika young people, and the issues and solutions they have, bring or require.

Le Va is taking an authentic youth participation approach to co-design GPS 2016 with our young people.

Facilitated by Le Va’s Yvonne Kainuku-Walsh, in mid-2015 a team of young Pasifika leaders (informally dubbed the Youth Action Komiti, or YAK) was brought together, consisting of a range of expertise, experience and ethnicities from various geographic regions throughout New Zealand. With more 20 years’ experience in the youth health and development sectors in New Zealand. Yvonne’s involvement has been critical.  

Young Pasifika perspectives are shaping all parts of GPS, including the themes, format, speakers and priorities, even the look and feel. The Youth Action Komiti and Le Va have also co-designed speaker guidelines, so that every presenter at GPS is guided by a youth voice. 

The theme of ‘unleashing our full potential’, is support by three sub-theme components of ‘radical acceptance’, ‘absolute inclusion’, and ‘full participation’, all co-created through our discussions. 

If we give full participation with radical acceptance and absolute inclusion, we will unleash the full potential of young Pasifika people.” Youth Action Komiti

One thing our young Pasifika leaders have emphasised is that this should not be like a typical conference; delegates will see innovations in the programme such as the ‘youth reflection’, energisers, or quiet time, and an emphasis on connection and building the ‘Va’ between everyone. 

The Youth Action Komiti also emphasised ensuring our cultural knowledge holders and elders are included in the conference; acknowledging our cultural values of family and respect. That’s why you’ll see Le Va’s Pasifika Matua Council also playing a key role in GPS 2016.

We are looking forward to Komiti member Flora Apulu’s opening keynote presentation on Friday, 22 April, in which she will present young people’s perspectives of this youth participation approach.

This conference is also paperless. For those who register to attend, the programme and all other conference information will be available through a smartphone app specific to GPS 2016. You will experience these and many more carefully crafted contributions during the conference. 

Check out the amazing line up of speakers, the programme, how to register and much more on our GPS 2016 web pages.


Our GPS 2016 Youth Action Komiti with Yvonne Kainui-Walsh (bottom right).


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Covid-19 Update

Face-to-face workshops will not continue while New Zealand is at Level 4. We will be in contact with all participants soon.