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Uplifting Pacific is priceless for Youth MP

Uplifting Pacific is priceless for Youth MP

  • 12 Apr 2019
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Throwing caution to the wind has worked in favour for Wellington's 16-year-old Charise Perez (pictured), who was selected to take part in Youth Parliament 2019

Of Tokelaun, Fijian, Samoan, Japanese and Portuguese heritage, Charise calls New Zealand’s capital city home. 

The St Mary’s College Year 12 student first saw Youth Parliament advertised at her school, and says the whole idea of uplifting the voice of New Zealand’s youth piqued her interest.   

“The fact it gives you the opportunity to take action and make changes motivated me even more to apply for the programme. 

“I’m a person who likes to make things actually happen … knowing it’s impacting the lives of others positively is priceless.” 

Charise will represent Member of Parliament (MP) for Wellington Central Hon Grant Robertson during the six-month Youth Parliament programme featuring a two-day Youth Parliament event in Wellington on July 16 and 17, and concludes in August. 

“I am looking forward to growing my knowledge of Parliament, as well as shadowing Grant Robertson and discovering what the daily life of an MP is like,” she says. 

Charise aims to form bonds and connections during Youth Parliament with Youth MPs and MPs which will help her help others to be heard. 

Ensuring Pacific peoples’ needs are fulfilled is one of Charise’s priorities, and to ensure their differences are celebrated, and their place in Aotearoa is recognised. 

Often, stereotyping Pacific youth causes them to think they cannot achieve something due to their skin colour or culture, Charise says. 

“Our minds are shaped by what the statistics show – but these are simply facts, just some of the story, and not the complete truth. 

“The truth is we are better than what others expect of us … as Pacific youth, we need to speak up about what we need.” 

Charise admires politicians, how they stand their ground and are confident in what they want to achieve despite the pressures and expectations placed on them by the public. 

She says with the knowledge she is acquiring throughout Youth Parliament, she hopes to apply it to her life and wherever life takes her.

“I hope I can become a source of support for those who are constantly feeling like the world is against them.” 

Public submissions are open! 

The public submission process for Youth Parliament 2019 select committee hearings is now open until April 28.  

Young people (aged 12-24 years) are encouraged to submit their views on the topics selected for discussion at the 2019 Youth Parliament.