Liam Douglas, one of our Greymouth catalysts, caught up with the team to share his thoughts on the journey so far:
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m 20 years old, living on the west coast of the South Island - west coast best coast! Love physical activity, love music and photography, have a passion for youth work, and I love helping people out.
Stephen initially brought me in to Future Leaders - I didn’t really think it was for me, but then he called me up and said “this is perfect for you, and I think you need to do it”.
The way he described it made it seem realistic and attainable, and he gave some examples of the types of change we can make happen in Greymouth.
For example, the industries our town was founded upon are going away now - and there’s an attitude where either we step up, create some change and bring some new things to the coast that can help it thrive and function, or we hold on to our heritage and watch our town go downhill.
I think We can remember the past and focus on the future, and put the work in to get to that future.
How was the first Hui for you?
I loved the first Hui - immediately when I walked in the room everyone had so much positivity, a willingness to learn and a lot of focus.
There was an environment of passion, and that to me was an environment that was set in people's attitude.
From that flowed inspiration - testimonies of those who have walked in different areas of life, who are in different stages of life, and having people give different perspectives and ideas - we all want to do something better to provide aotearoa or the world with something great, and it was amazing to see the variety of things that people can help to accomplish that.
We always think in the context we are in - so with me being from the west coast, it was amazing to see other cultures and see where other people struggle and thrive. It was great to be in a place with people who were both like-minded and different.
A big highlight for me was the conversations at meal times - engaging and getting to know more about people, what their passions are and getting to know more about them!
The panel workshop was also amazing; hearing the testimonies from Whaiora, Richard, and Noa - especially with Richard’s talk. I often find myself wanting to have as little to do with politics as I possibly can, but with Richard’s talk it almost made me want to jump into the fray. He so clearly believed what he said, which is always captivating. What everyone on that panel said opened my mind to new possibilities and also being careful in areas we might think we need to change, but in reality being respectful and integrating effectively to achieve our ultimate goals instead of kicking out the old in favour of the new. It’s all about bringing different races, genders, colours, creeds and even ages to create a more beautiful Aotearoa.
Can’t forget the talent show - seeing everyone's passions and talent was so inspiring, and beating Guy and Finn in golf was one for the books too!
How has Future Leaders impacted you so far?
Programme is going well so far - we’re mainly focused on introductions with future leaders this side of Greymouth, and it’s been really interesting to hear other people's ideas and resources and connections to get a big picture of what we have. It’s exciting to see what we can do in ways of funding, and what change we all want to see along the coast. So we’ve had workshop one, and moving on to workshop two soon!
If you could share anything with the Future Leaders Newsletter, what would it be?
Life is like 2 wolves fighting each other - one positive and one negative. The that wins is the one you feed.
The greatest persecution we can get is the one we give ourselves, so fight - but first fight for yourself. Learn how to give yourself freedom from the arms of your own oppression; once you learn that, you can begin to understand freedom.