Taking Opotiki to Parliament

Opotiki’s Tame Cole (TC) Koroheke Satele has been selected by MP David Parker to be a representative at next year’s Youth Parliament. TC is a student at Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura), New Zealand’s state distance education provider. 

TC says he was “ecstatic and shocked” to get the call from Hon David Parker. “A big inspiration for my application was my community here in Opotiki, a small, close-knit community. I want to be able to help bring the ideas of my town to a national stage.”

TC says one of the big issues facing Opotiki is unemployment. “We need more job opportunities for young people – actually for all people. There’s a real lack of jobs here.”

Language education is his greatest passion and he is studying Japanese and Chinese at Te Kura. “Language gives us the ability to bridge gaps between cultures, and with the rising global climate of second language speakers, I want to pioneer New Zealand’s pursuit for bilingualism.”

“Te Kura fulfils a really important function in New Zealand and I am really pleased to support it and TC,” says David Parker.

TC, who is of Māori and Samoan descent, would eventually like to study Computer Science at University. Before beginning study at Te Kura last year, TC was enrolled at a face-to-face school. He feels that “There wasn’t really a nurturing environment for students who are different. Whereas at Te Kura, I think there is a lot of acceptance.”

Te Kura Chief Executive Mike Hollings says “Mainstream schooling doesn’t meet the needs of everyone. It’s great to have TC flourishing with the flexible, personalised learning approach that Te Kura provides.”

TC will join New Zealand’s other Youth MPs when he heads to Parliament in Wellington on 16 and 17 July 2019. The unique opportunity involves stepping into the shoes of an MP while they debate legislation, sit on select committees and ask oral questions of ministers.

In the meantime, he will be talking to people in Opotiki to get a stronger idea of what his community wants.