Youth Sector Conference announced for Invercargill

A conference being hosted in Invercargill next month will host leading experts in youth mental health and wellbeing to build capability and drive collaboration across the youth development sector.

Te Ringa Hāpai is a two-day conference in May, hosted and driven by Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation, in response to calls from the Southland youth sector for more opportunities for professional development and capability building.

Te Rourou Community Catalyst Mandy Smith said many of the foundation’s community partners had noted a lack of availability of conferences and workshops for the youth sector in Invercargill and getting kaimahi (staff) to events around Aotearoa wasn’t always an option.

“Part of our mahi in Murihiku is to ‘supercharge the sector’ and to create more connections and opportunities for those working in youth development. Since we started, we’ve heard that those working in the sector needed more access to, and support for, professional and personal development. We decided to bring the workshops to the sector,” Smith said.

The focus of the conference connects to the recent release of the report ‘I Feel Really Good When…strengthening youth mental health and wellbeing in Murihiku Southland’, which identifies the struggles faced by young people in the region, and ways their wellbeing could thrive.

The conference will include keynote speakers and a range of workshops to choose from over the two days and is available to anyone working in the youth development space, free of charge.

“We’re always looking at how we can reduce barriers for youth, as well as for the organisations that work with youth. Bridging the gap in resources for our community, be it a lack of time to plan and host these events, or a lack of funds to attend is a priority for us. We don’t want anyone to miss out,” Smith said.

Keynote speakers include Matt and Sarah Brown, who work in a range of programmes focusing on domestic violence and intergenerational cycles of abuse, and Professor Anna Brown of Toi Āria who was the lead researcher on the mental health and wellbeing in Murihiku report. Workshops include presenters from around Aotearoa who will talk to a variety of topics around positive youth development, mental health and wellbeing, and working with youth.

For a programme of events, and to register, visit

Or view and download the programme below