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High interest in Christchurch’s first Youth in Local Government Conference

3 October 2008

To date almost 200 delegates have registered for the 2008 Youth in Local Government Conference, being hosted by the Christchurch City Council (CCC) next week. 

The theme of the conference, which incorporates Youth Day on Monday 6 October, is “Transforming the Future.” 


CCC Community Support Unit Manager Catherine McDonald says young people, mayors, councillors and council staff who work with youth, from throughout the country, will gather to discuss growing active citizens, youth employment and youth participation. 


The biennial conference is being held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor on Cashel Street on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 October, although delegates will initially gather on Monday 6 October for Youth Day. 


This year’s keynote speakers are Kehinde Bah, a Toronto-based youth advocate and 2004 winner of the Canadian Urban Leadership Award.  Mr Bah co-founded the innovative hip-hop youth development programme, The Remix Project, and focuses on promoting an equitable playing field for marginalised young people. 


He will speak about “Cultivating Community Leadership” on Tuesday at 11.30am. 


Melissa Crockett, co-owner of Potiki Adventures, an innovative Auckland-based Maori tourism company showcasing culture, landscapes and art from a contemporary Maori perspective is the other keynote speaker.  Potiki Adventures also provides employment and mentoring for young Maori, and Ms Crockett and business partner Bianca Ranson have been the recipients of Maori business and women in business awards. 


Her presentation “Resourceful, Fearless and Cunning – a Contemporary Maori Business Model” will take place on Wednesday at 9.30am. 


A panel debate between Mayors and youth delegates on Wednesday at 2.30pm will be another highlight, with the youth delegates raising the five most significant issues facing young people. The CCC will be represented by Councillor Yani Johanson who, at just 33, is a first-term councillor, having been a community board member for six years. 


Several awards will also be presented at a dinner on Tuesday from 7pm. 


Members of the media are invited to attend the conference.  To find out more about the programme, visit  For other information, contact Catherine McDonald on 03 941 8879 or 


The conference is supported by the Canterbury Development Corporation, Ministry of Youth Development, Mayors Taskforce for Jobs and the Christchurch City Council.


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