Mana Williams-Eade was the master of ceremonies at the official launch ceremony of the VOYCE-Whakarongo Mai office in Wellington on Wednesday 23 October.

Zak Quor (Board Member, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai), Mana Williams-Eade (Board Member, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai), Tyson Nemukula (Musician)

Mana started by expressing his sheer delight at having VOYCE finally in Wellington. Mana has been involved with VOYCE since its inception and is currently one of three young adults with care experience who all serve on VOYCE’s board.

Mana Williams-Eade (Board Member, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai)

Te Taku Parai, Kaumatua, Ngāti Toa Rangatira commended the organisation’s sterling kaupapa and offered the tribe’s full support to VOYCE in helping children with care experience thrive, blossom and grow.

Te Taku Parai (Chairperson, Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Incorporated Board)

Tracie Shipton acknowledged the bravery of all tamariki and rangatahi atawhai in care saying, “Care experienced people are at the centre of this organisation. We are driven by their cry for change, motivated by their call for action and empowered by their collective wisdom.” Tracie added, “This organisation belongs to young people and we are their agents of change.”

Tracie Shipton (Tumu Whakarae/Chief Executive, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai)

Kirsten Smith heads up VOYCE in Wellington as Regional Manager. She is highly respected by her peers and brings an invaluable depth of experience from an illustrious career in the youth work space. Kirsten commented that being situated in the Dominion Building alongside Maori Women’s Development Inc (MWDI) felt like a beautiful grounding place for the VOYCE in Wellington.

Kirsten Smith (Kaiwhakahaere – Te Taihauauru me Ikaroa Rawhiti / Regional Manager – Lower North Island, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai)

Tyson Nemukula performed his song “Save Me.” Tyson moved to NZ from South Africa when he was 15 years old. Now 22, he’s studying towards his Bachelor of Commercial Music at Massey University in Wellington. This year he released his 5 track EP ‘Dreams of an underdog’. He also put in an impressive application that saw him selected to represent VOYCE at next month’s CREATE conference – Voices In Action in Melbourne. Below is a short snippet of Tyson’s soulful performance.

Linda Clay of MWDI warmly welcomed VOYCE into the office space and spoke about the synergy she saw with both organisations – being that of representing and helping to bring forward the voices of a vastly underrepresented section of society.

Hunia Mackay (Kaihautū – Kaupapa Māori / National Advisor Māori, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai) introduces Linda Clay of Maori Women’s Development Inc