Te Arawa Fisheries business analyst Tamaaio Stewart was recently part of a select few rangatahi invited to attend the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs’ annual conference.
Tamaaio spent two days in Wellington where he was treated to a behind the scenes peek at Parliament and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
While it may have been a flying visit, Tamaaio says he took a lot away from the visit.
“I think for a lot of people, myself included, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is shrouded in mystery so I appreciated having the opportunity to see what it was all about and learn about some of its kaupapa.
“I also got to sit in Jacinda Ardern’s seat in Parliament – not many people can claim to have done that.”
Tamaaio says the conference provided a good opportunity to meet and network with new people, while hearing different perspectives on some of the pressing issues facing New Zealand.
“There were a bunch of different topics discussed at the conference – sustainability, inclusion, the post-COVID economy – and it was really interesting hearing the perspectives of different generations.
“I think young people have a lot to offer to these discussions and often provide perspectives that haven’t been considered.”
Tamaaio says his biggest take-away from the trip has been a focus on big picture thinking.
“There are so many options when we look at what we can do as a collective. I may just be a little puzzle piece but I can help make up some of those bigger ideas.“