The Atu-Mai team had the honour of supporting the two-day MYSTORY Youth Summit on 21-22 June. Titled “Born to Make an Impact”, the summit was a partnership between South Seas Healthcare Trust and the Ministry of Education and was led by young people undertaking the MYSTORY internships at South Seas. The conference provided the platform for young people and leaders in the youth space to share their stories of resiliency and solutions.
One of the keynote speakers, Children’s’ Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft, put out a call-out to action for the young people present to realise their full potential – which is exactly what our very own Atu-Mai youth advisor, Yole, spoke about. Supported by Dr Liz Mati and family, Fuluiole (Yole) Lelaulu shared her survival story. Yole is a survivor of physical, mental, and sexual abuse and is motivated to share her journey to inspire others, to send a message that there is hope, and we are resilient –
“Sharing my story for the first time in front of an audience was empowering; I left feeling hopeful for our future. I shared my story in the most authentic way possible; in a way that would resonate with our youth. The response was heart-warming, and I felt supported by everyone in the room, especially my Le Va aiga. I wanted the audience to look forward to a violence free Aotearoa.”
Le Va’s Atu-Mai programme was also presented to encourage young people to stand together against violence.
Minister Jenny Salesa inspired the room through sharing her personal story of overcoming the adversities, and other keynote speakers included Damon Salesa (Pro Vice Chancellor, University of Auckland), Dr Teuila Percival (Chairperson, South Seas Healthcare Trust Board), Jane Zintl (CEO, Ara Taiohi), Marshall Ganz ( Professor, Harvard University), and Antonio Ameko Tausani Afaese Mataafa (Youth intern, MYSTORY) who shared his heartbreaking story of resilience after being diagnosed with rheumatic fever.
The MYSTORY summit reminded us of the power of our stories, and it provided a safe and supportive space for people to share. It is in our stories that we are able to explore our identity and find strength, and it is in our storytelling that we are able to define our future.