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Earlier this year, the WSCW Peace Ambassadors were invited to attend this year’s Peace Symposium. The theme of ‘Inner Peace for Outer Action’ was explored through various activities, events and presentations throughout the day. 

The day began with Ngā Puna o Waiōrea leading a stunning pōwhiri. This allowed us, as the local host school, to welcome students, teachers and facilitators. Dorrein started our day with a karakia and handed over to Phoenix who did a mihi to everyone gathered at the event. Jase Te Patu then did a mihi back as a response. After this, facilitators from The Peace Foundation introduced our day ahead. The MC, Beth was wonderful and engaging. 

Then, the first speaker, Jase Te Patu of M3 Mindfulness, engaged us in lessons of mindfulness. He used the concepts of Te Ao Māori and Māori Hauora to express the importance of making sure all of our wellbeings are attended to. In the four ‘walls’ of our whare, we learnt about the Taha Hinengaro, Taha Tinana, Taha Wairua and Taha Whānau. This is our physical, spiritual, social and mental wellbeing. Jase talked about how our whare will collapse if one of these walls is not attended to properly. Furthermore, we looked at some Māori stories to integrate our knowledge. As a group we shared how we take care of our different wellbeing aspects. The kōrero was very interesting and Jase certainly taught us a lot. 

We then launched into a discussion about the Symposium instagram challenges and had a break. 

After this, Genevieve Mora talked to us about mental health, illness and gaining support. Genevieve has founded Voices of Hope and has been a prominent mental health advocate in Aotearoa. She discussed her story of mental illness and recovery, which no doubt was a voice of hope to many people in the audience. One thing that stuck out to many of us was when she said that “people can only help you with what you know.” Genevieve had an extremely inspiring and uplifting story. 

After this, schools from all over Tāmaki Makaurau shared their peace week presentations. This included spoken word, poems, skits and presentations of how different schools celebrated peace week. There were a variety of ways that schools promoted inner peace for outward action at their schools. It was impressive to see all the creativity. 

After lunch, we participated in other activities which introduced each other to different and new students at the event. 

We then heard from our final speaker, Talei Bryant. Talei is a wonderful wāhine and founder of the Find Your Fish movement, a movement helping young people to find their passion and apply it in their lives. Talei told us about all the mahi she is doing in the youth work sector and her struggles with handling the extreme amount of mahi she has had to do. She expressed the importance of taking it easy sometimes and knowing your limits. Her talk was extremely inspiring!

A final activity we did was getting into groups and sharing what we’d tell the government in relation to improving mental health in Aotearoa. We all wrote down our ideas, which will be shared with Chlöe Swarbrick. Ideas included government funding, MIQ which supports mental health, a curriculum that supports mental wellness and more. Everyone had interesting ideas to bring to the table and it was interesting to find the common ground between a big group of strangers.

Finally, we shared gratitude to all the wonderful people who made the day possible.

Phoenix closed off the day with a karakia.  

Thank you to Linda and Celine for preparing us for the event, and being there with us. Thank you to Ngā Puna o Waiōrea for the pōwhiri and Phoenix for the karakia. The day was filled with lots of learning, laughter and enjoyment and I think we all feel very lucky to have gone. 

Sophia Collins, yr 12.


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