Otorohanga youth desperate for better jobs

By Talisa Kupenga

Youth in Otorohanga are desperate for better jobs in their area. There was no hesitation in putting the challenge to Prime Minister John Key during his visit to the King Country, where he met with Māori youth and business owners.

Youth have a clear message for the Prime Minister; they want better jobs.

"What is there here, there's nothing, that's all I have to say,” says 24-year old Stephen Koroheke

"It's a real struggle, there's a McDonalds and Subway, but who wants to get up for that!” says 25-year old Krystal Waretini.

They say all opportunities lie in neighbouring communities.

Ngaromarose Preston from Ngāti Maniapoto says cost is also an issue, "People can't afford to go to Te Kuiti, petrol costs.

40% of the Otorohanga population are Māori. Although PM John Key hasn't been to the rural town since 2010, he says his visit isn't about next year's election.

“Not every job is going to be created in Otorohanga, because of the share scale and size of the community but we do want all those that want to stay here to make sure, we do everything we can to provide those opportunities,” says Key.

According to Māori Affairs Minister Te Ururoa Flavell, “Tertiary institutions and universities need a place in small towns like this one; otherwise, the people here are forgotten and left out."

For the youth here, it's not about being unsuccessful, but having the support.