VOYCE Whakarongo Mai National Youth Council Chair Renee Porter opens about the movement

VOYCE Whakarongo Mai spoke to Renee on the morning of her departure for the Global Care Family Gathering and why this movement is important. These are Renee’s words.

1. How are you feeling ahead of this inaugural event?

With the Global Care Family Gathering only being days away I’m nervous but excited to be able to represent VOYCE Whakarongo Mai and New Zealand at this very special and monumental day. It’s a very special day, I believe, for our young people and children currently in the Care system as well as for those who are care experienced.
I know going to Scotland is not only about me sharing my story but it’s also platform where I am able to represent others in New Zealand.

2. What are you looking forward to the most?

I am probably most looking forward to seeing how Scotland care for those in Care and Care experienced. Also just how their system works in relation to New Zealand’s as well as getting some ideas to bring back home for us on the Youth Council at VOYCE Whakarongo Mai.
Who Cares? Scotland has established themselves in their country and I hope to see the same for ours.

3. Why do you think this is such a momentous occasion?

Since I first walked on stage almost 12/13 years ago, to talk about my experience in Care, not in my wildest imagination did I think that I would be on a stage, in another Country, at the very first Global event.
The discussions around the experiences people have in the Care system are no longer ‘taboo’ or unspoken, it’s something that everyone can now learn from for how we progress in the future- how we care for everyone; including our families, siblings, friends and the professionals who are all part of this big machine. For it to be well oiled and long-lasting, we need to talk about what has happened and have the ability to move forward on how we change things for the better.

4. As the acting body for amplifying tamariki and rangatahi atawhai in Aotearoa, how important is it for VOYCE to attend? 

The importance of VOYCE Whakarongo Mai attending is instrumental to the direction that we are moving towards, a better future for all Young People and Children in Care and Care Experienced.
Scotland hosting the GCFG is the first courageous step towards highlighting how important it is to whakarongo mai. This is what VOYCE is all about!

5. What do you hope to learn from the GCFC?

At the GCFG I really hope to learn more about how Scotland have come to a place of celebrating, at such a Global level, the voices of young people, children, and care experienced adults.
I hope that with the knowledge I gain from this trip, we are able to implement new ideas into our VOYCE Youth Council so that we are able to work towards something as great and fantastic as hosting a Care Experienced Week.
I also hope to see the relationship between Who Cares? Scotland Youth Council and VOYCE Whakarongo Mai’s National Youth Council strengthen through this experience together.