June 16, 2022
Joe comes from a large whānau in Ōpōtiki and has lived through significant adversity with both of his parents passing away. After Joe underwent major heart surgery at the age of 20, he was easing himself back into life when a member of his community suggested that he join Inspiring Stories’ Future Leaders programme. They believed Future Leaders could be a great way for Joe to plan his next steps in life and ensure he made the most of his future.
Later that month Joe travelled to Auckland for his first Future Leaders hui. There, he spent the weekend talking to other Future Leaders about the adversities they were facing in their local areas and how they could each help to make a positive impact. Joe recalls feeling moved by the fact that everyone came from different regions with different challenges, but they all found common ground in their experiences of hardship and their desire to create change for themselves and their communities.
Joe felt empowered by the other Future Leaders he had the chance to speak to. Upon returning to Ōpōtiki he started a youth programme for rangatahi in his area. Through this programme, Joe ran a series of events and sporting activities to help keep children active and involved in their community, with the aim of helping get them home safely at the end of each day. It was because of this programme that Joe received the Rising Star Award at the 2018 Impact Awards, as well as winning a Kiwibank Local Hero medal for services to his local community. Joe was so moved by the impact that the Future Leaders programme had on him and Ōpōtiki that he also shared his story on the main stage at Inspiring Stories’ Festival for the Future that same year.
Joe now reflects on his time with the Future Leaders programme and believes that the main takeaway was the confidence it helped him build – something he had not previously possessed much of. This confidence not only enabled Joe to create change for Ōpōtiki but has also helped him to make change for himself.
In 2019 Joe moved to Wellington to pursue a degree in commercial music, making him the first in his wider whānau to study at University. He studies at the College of Creative Arts at Massey Wellington, and in 2020 he became the President of the Maori Students Association.
Without the generous support from One Percent Collective, Joe would not have had the opportunities presented to him in the Future Leaders programme. Without the programme, Joe is unsure whether he would have been able to realise his own potential to create change for himself or his community.
Words and image supplied by Inspiring Stories
Many young people feel overwhelmed by the world’s problems and are unsure how they can make a difference. Fund 13 young people in rural or provincial NZ to access 2 weeks of Inspiring Stories' Future Leaders programme with just 1% of your annual income. For the average Kiwi, that's only $10 per week. Support Inspiring Stories with your 1%.JOIN the collective NOW