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Aotearoa Youth Declaration 2023 Participant Registrations




13 - 16 April


University of Auckland, Auckland CBD

Registrations Close

27 March 2023

What is AYD?

Aotearoa Youth Declaration (AYD) is one of UN Youth’s flagship events, and the only one which produces a document which is pushed into public offices of change-making. Participants aged 13-18 (Years 9-13) from all over Aotearoa come together through Hui’s across Aotearoa to contribute their thoughts and experiences to what will become the ‘Youth Declaration’, a document which is representative of a broad and in depth youth perspective on current public policy.

During the Hui’s, participants work in scoped Rōpū (committee groups) to recommend policy solutions on a large range of current issues. Each Rōpū examines problems relevant in Aotearoa, and then contributes a solution to the issue based on each participant's unique perspective and experiences around the issue, and these solutions comprise the Aotearoa Youth Declaration document. The Aotearoa Youth Declaration document is passed on to decision-makers, such as MPs, local Councils and Boards, and other  influential people, in order to help them decide the future of Aotearoa which Rangatahi will inherit.

2023 Theme: Whakatipu

Whakatipu as a concept of Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) refers to the idea of growth, going upwards/rising, and the future. It was chosen as a kupu for this conference as it represents our vision to see rangatahi coming together and growing, both collectively as the generation of the future, but also personally and individually in their own lives and paths in life.

Whakatipu is also shown visually through our graphics and symbolism throughout this conference. The Koru that can be seen in our graphics, is a common symbol in Te Ao Māori which represents various ideas such as regeneration, new life, peace, and importantly for this conference, continuation and growth.

We have also used the Kōwhai flower throughout our graphics in a similar way. In Te Ao Māori, the Kōwhai flower has a meaning of Personal Growth, and entering a season of regeneration. According to Maramataka, the Lunar calendar of Te Ao Māori, the blooming of Kōwahi is a Tohu, sign, of the arrival of spring. This is a time of growth, and the sowing of seeds that will secure the health and future of those who sow it. We have used this “blooming” Kōwhai to symbolise that with this declaration, we are entering a season of sowing the seeds for all of our futures, changing the world around us and the decisions being made today, so we can have the future that we want, tomorrow.

Rōpū Descriptions

  • Environment

Discuss the natural resources that need to be protected to help the New Zealand ecosystem flourish. Learn about the problems that our endangered environment and ecosystems are facing and collaborate on solutions to solve them. Help create new legislation around water guardianship and the role and responsibilities of farmers.

  • Education

Help discuss the education landscape you want to see in your future. It will discuss allocations for teachers, trying to retain people in teaching positions, and increase their pay in order to increase the importance of education. It will look at discrimination in the school system based on gender and disability, as well as how to equalise the quality of education after the removal of the decile system.

  • Economic Development

This rōpū will cover changes in economic legislation, finance and how money is used. It specifically covers the role of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the percentage taxes applied to the rich. It will also discuss New Zealand’s problem with monopolies, especially in rural areas, and the role of international businesses shipping their goods here.

  • Social Development

This rōpū will discuss state housing and the associated stigma, how to encourage sustainable building practices, and the role of city planning in locating housing exclusion zones as well as low income housing and or high density housing. It will also look at welfare for people in poverty, especially unhoused people.

  • Science/Technology

Discuss new, cutting edge technology that is planned to be brought to New Zealand. It will specifically focus on renewable energy and how that industry needs to change and be supported to help meet the future climate goals. It will also look at regulation of emerging technology and at what point new technologies should be trusted.

  • Transport

This rōpū will discuss the New Zealand car culture, and how it might be changed. Various methods will be discussed such as funding public transport, walkable cities and more sustainable road construction. There will also be debates over the role of rail and sea freight replacing large road trucks.

  • Hauora

Hauora encompasses physical wellbeing (taha tinana), mental wellbeing (taha hinengaro), social wellbeing (taha whānau) and spiritual wellbeing (taha wairua). This rōpū will discuss how we develop and embed those values in our communities, health systems, and legislation. It will also discuss the impacts of COVID 19 and how those affected can be helped to recover.

  • Youth Development

This rōpū will cover the future plans and what you young people want for yourselves. While the discussion as a whole will be very broad, it will touch on issues such as youth welfare, interaction and advocacy with councils and governments, and youth employment. Here we acknowledge that rangatahi are the future of the country and deserve your place to speak your mind.

  • Arts/Culture

This rōpū will focus on how to best embrace the multiculturality of Aotearoa, as well as the role the Arts and the Media play within this. It will discuss how diverse and multicultural our society is and how we can better incorporate them to move past biculturalism. It will also look at freedom of expression, free media, free art and how legislation and funding can support them.

  • Disability/Accessibility

This rōpū  will discuss the diversity of experiences in this country, and how those different experiences can create difficulty and hardship not felt by others.This rōpū focuses on policy that can best help diverse individuals flourish rather than attempting to ‘normalise’ them. Issues covered include physical and mental accessibility in schools and workplaces, as well as protecting diverse and disabled people through legislation.

  • Justice/Governance

Justice and Governance directly shapes the rules and laws that surround us all. This rōpū will focus on if our justice and governance systems are adequate and equitable for all social groups. This rōpū will focus on the Criminal Justice System, as well as looking at how to incorporate Te Tiriti obligations into legislation and even changing the structure of the entire governance system itself.

  • Foreign Affairs

Although Aotearoa is a small nation, its voice on the international stage can be loud. This rōpū will focus on Aotearoa New Zealand’s role in the international sphere and its relations with other nation states. It will also look at big world issues spanning across state borders and what Aotearoa can do to contribute to issues such as foreign aid, trade and conflict.

AYD 2023 Registrations will be closing March 27th, so don’t wait to register and get on top of it NOW!

Also don’t forget that if finance is any kind of barrier, we have plenty of scholarships available so please apply!

We may be able to arrange a pay later scheme in special cases if that is something which might work best for your situation - in that case please get in touch with the Registrations Officer Henri, at [email protected]

For past examples of our Declarations please see our 2021 Declaration here and the 2022 (online) Declaration here.

For any other questions or concerns, including changing your application details, please feel free to email our Registrations Officer Henri, at [email protected].


Q: Who are the scholarships for?

A: Anyone applying who may be in a financial situation which in any way makes it difficult or stops them all together from applying and accessing the conference.

Q: What will I get out of AYD?

A: AYD provides so many opportunities from improving self confidence, to making new friends, to advocating for actual change, or to just seeing what you might want to do after highschool!

Q: Who else will be at AYD?

A: Highschoolers from around Aotearoa! We aim to make our event accessible to every kind of young person from every kind of background!

Q: Who will see the declaration?

A: In the past the final document has been seen by City Councilors, business owners, Lawyers, MP’s, Prime Ministers and all kinds of local and national decisions makers in Aotearoa.

Q: Who is AYD for?

A: All young people, it doesn't matter what school you go to.

Q: What is UN Youth?

A: UN Youth is a non-profit organisation that provides civics education outside of a traditional classroom context. Through engaging workshops and conferences, we engage youth in the most pressing affairs of our country and the international community. Our goal is to inspire young New Zealanders to be active, global citizens. Global citizenship exists in an incredibly diverse range of forms, and UN Youth provides opportunities for delegates to develop their own form of active citizenship. Throughout Aotearoa, our work equips young people to become informed, engaged, and critical New Zealanders who understand their global context and the connections between the local and the global. Annually, over 3000 young New Zealanders attend UN Youth events, run by a body of 150 volunteers across the country who dedicate many hours of their time to engaging young people and growing the organisation.

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