New temporary space for young people

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A vibrant new space for young people in the city center will focus on creativity and community connections for rangatahi.

Dubbed the Otepoti Youth Space, the pop-up space will run May 8-21 – coinciding with Youth Week – in the community gallery and neighboring Te Whare o Rukutia performance space in Princes St.

Otepoti Youth Space Coordinator Jo Taylor said the Youth Space would be a welcoming meeting place and offer a range of activities each afternoon, including workshops and performances.

The Youth Space team is calling on youth organisations, young people and artists to express their interest in being part of the programme.

“We would like to decorate the walls with youth artwork, and there are opportunities for youth groups, solo performances and workshops.”

Young people in the city had made it clear they wanted to have their own space and place, and securing the funding to establish the pop-up around Youth Week was very helpful, said Ms. Taylor.

“From here, we hope to be able to establish a permanent space for young people in the future.”

The deputy coordinator of the Otepoti Youth Space, Ben Sommerville, is enthusiastic about the project.

“It will be great for rangatahi to have the opportunity to engage with a diverse group of rangatira [leaders] and other rangatahi to do our best,” he said.

Volunteers Larissa Hinds and Mitchell Porter-Thomas also bring their enthusiasm to the project, helping with graphic art and creating a group program, respectively.

“I’m also eager to be a tuakana [big brother] for our rangatahi,” Porter-Thomas said.

Artsenta director Paul Smith said a space for young people in the city center had been “a long time coming”.

“Young people have been asking for more youth-friendly spaces for many years and we just thought it was time to do something about it.”

The initiative is facilitated by a collective of creative and youth organizations and has been supported by the Otago Community Trust, the Creative Communities Scheme and the Dunedin Casino Charitable Trust.

Anyone wishing to get involved can search for Otepoti Youth Space on Facebook or contact the coordinator at [email protected]

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