Empowering Young People Through Ei Katu-Making

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Emerge Aotearoa provides a wide range of recovery and rehabilitation services designed to empower people to reach their full recovery potential. They believe that everyone is capable of living a meaningful life and are committed to helping their service users to be the best they can be – resulting in improved overall community well-being and participation. On Wednesday 18 July, Emerge Aotearoa, through Cook Islander Louise Tito, joined forces with the Cook Islands Taokotai’anga Vainetini to teach a workshop on ei katu-making to young people facing difficulties in their life. With changing times, young people are challenged constantly to be the best version of themselves, especially in an environment where social media and the media play a big role in building up the self-esteem of young people. Sometimes being the best version of themselves is not always easy to do, especially when young people don’t have the right people or values in place to support them. And sometimes this leads to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and many other mental health conditions affecting our mapu. The ei katu workshop was part of three workshops offered on the day. Through it our Mama’s – Nane, June, Mariana and Nana, were able to get to know these young people and through their humor and kindness, were able to bring these young people out of their shells to enjoy a craft most Cook Islanders have grown up with. Although the Cook Islands Taokotai’anga Vainetini have been highlighted across several news media articles, as our favorite Auntie Nana Kamo-Matoroa says “we’re more than just a group of women that sew tivaevae’s.” Vainetini’s are a group of skilled women who make Cook Islands crafts. Lately the Cook Islands Taokotai’anga Vainetini are teaching us that they’re more than that, especially through their work with the Sikh Community, and our young Pacific and Maori people.