National Young Leaders Day

Published on Friday, 31 May 2019, 1:28 p.m. Print Article

On Thursday the 30th of May, the head students were given the amazing opportunity of attending the NYLD, or “National Young Leaders Day.” This was a delightful experience for us, and we absolutely loved it. NYLD is celebrated all over New Zealand, with our Christchurch one having an attendance of around 2000 students! 

We set out in the school van at 8:45, and traveled to Horncastle Arena - where we were met by Marie - one of our awesome parent helpers.  We arrived and were ushered to our seats by some funky looking “superhero” helpers, and were welcomed to the day by an energetic pair of MC’s, who introduced us to the focus, ‘He aha te kai a te rangatira? He kōrero, he kōrero, he kōrero.” Meaning - what it the food of a leader? It is conversations. The first speaker was an energetic, funny young man called Christian Gallen. He told us a story from his childhood about accidentally eating a dog roll - the moral being you can learn from your mistakes. His speech was short and sweet, and we were promptly back in the care of our enthusiastic MC’s.
The MC’s (Liz Alexander and Phil Baker) then introduced us to Sala Tiatia- a former star of the TV show Survivor, who told us his heart-wrenching story of an abusive childhood, and how he got through tough times, by telling himself that yes, he was, in fact, beautiful, amazing, and special, contrary to what his father said at the time. Sala explained the real meaning behind the word “Whakarongo”, meaning “listen” in English. To understand a word, he said, you have to break it down. So “whakarongo” becomes “whaka” and “rongo.” “Whaka” means to capture, to hold onto, and to hold close to you. “Rongo” means the ‘six’ senses, in māori culture, to feel, to hear, to see, to smell, to taste, and the sixth sense, “wairua” or, spirit. He told us to stay strong, and we could do that by following this rule - “whakarongo to the truth, and whakarongo to pain.”

We were left touched by his speech, and after a quick break, brought to the attention of a new speaker. 
Ronnie Taulafo - A television personality from the show “What Now.” He shared his surprising tale of how he was moved to Australia, and put into foster care. He was then shifted to a detention centre, where he was deported back to Samoa. When he arrived, he didn’t even know his native language. He was gradually taught Samoan by his father and grew to adore his culture. Ronnie told us all about his culture, and how you can lead in different ways. A leader should show compassion and care. 

In my opinion, the most inspiring speech was the speech of Dr. Lehan Stemmet. 
He showed us an interesting exercise with two people. The first person makes a fist and presses it against the flat hand of the other person. Did the person with the flat hand push back? 
To be a leader, instead of pushing back, you need to lead. Let the person pushing push themselves forward, as you steer them in the right direction. He said “Leadership inspires people to be the best they can be in the mutual pursuit of a better life for all” This gives an insight into how leadership should look like. Leadership should be something that helps people, and inspires people to do their best, and strive. If you want to help someone through something, say, a level on a game, then you have to have passed that level, to have the experience. And then push yourself to the next level. 

After a brief visit from a 12-yr-old girl with a dream of ending climate change, we had our last speaker. Kings is a Pacifica man who started his career in music by banging pots and pans together in his youth. He broke a record for the number one hit song in NZ - Don’t worry bout’ it. 
He told us about his rise to fame and the struggles of his youth. The times he had to look in the mirror, and say “Hey man, you are awesome!” to get up his self-esteem. The day ended with a show stopping performance of two of his hits. 

NYLD was an incredible opportunity for all of the head students, and we had a wonderful time! Thank you so much to CSIS for letting us have this awesome opportunity, we learned so much, and can’t wait to use the information to inspire all those young leaders in our school. 

Written by Zoey Kenix