The changing face of West Auckland

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Pierre Schaeffer is a French composer, he said that sound is “complex and has numerous characteristics which emerge through a process of comparison within our perception.”

This is much the same for faces and people.

We all have numerous characteristics that in their natural form are the outcome of genetics, these features can be enhanced and changed by the environment we find ourselves in, the products we use or what we put ourselves through and all of these aspects are components that make our face different compared to those around us.

However, despite us all being different thanks to both genetics and life experiences our nature is to look for similarities within one another.

Sometimes we succeed in this and end up finding friends and developing a circle of people we want to live our life among, but often looking for similarities can lead to the development of negative comparison or the judgement of other people.

We might think somebody’s face is better than ours because of its shape, or not as great as ours because of it’s lack of ‘highlighter’ – thinking like this leads us often to doubt our own beauty and forget that at our core we were all meant to be different.

Genetics, bro.

It’s only our perception that brings about judgement upon differences, because as I said we are all designed to be different – however, the strongest truth is that what makes us all similar is our humanity and this we need to respect.

A way in which some of our ‘perceptive’ human race tends to judge the different is


I’m from Warkworth which is just outside of Auckland, and you can be guaranteed that this holiday weekend one or two of the locals in the cafe down the road will say something to us like “Oh, here come the JAFA’s again.”

When people are grouped by geography this can connate positively and or negatively dependent on the context, but when it comes to West Auckland this region has been subjected to many years of negative connotation and judgement. I used to live in West Auckland as a child, but I don’t know enough about the connotations of the area to make an educated comment, so instead I am going to tell you about the West Auckland and West Aucklanders I have come to know lately and why they are proving the negative connotations about themselves and their area wrong, by working to create a better future for youths in their area.


Elyse from Generation Ignite at Good in the Hood

I met a young woman named Elyse as we were both working at a Zeal youth event it was through her I learned about Generation Ignite and the Street Youth Work initiative started by Zeal. Generation Ignite works with at-risk youth in West Auckland between the ages of 12-24 and Street Youth Work enables Elyse and her work Georgia to spend 10 hours a week within their New Lynn Community.

Their main goal of both these programmes is to champion youth’s in West Auckland, by helping them unlock their potential – thus changing the face of West Auckland more and more.

In Elyse’s words, she says

“Basically our focus is to connect and build relationships with our young people.

However, we are ultimately there to be a solid support system for young people who lack means of support at home, need an ear to listen or a face to turn to if they’re experiencing any difficulties and for those who need somebody to point them in the right direction and get them on their feet. It’s a humbling and rewarding job – in fact, you wouldn’t even call it a job

Our young people need support and people who can come on their level, and really give them the help, love and encouragement that they need”

They’ll be times in every person’s life when we need love and support, Generation Ignite is there for a community of youths in order to give that love and support – but also to ignite this generation in their potential.

At the end of the day, we are all worth more than the negative perceptions that we might encounter about ourselves, our faces are all similar – because we are all human and that truth gives us all potential to do great things.

The Zeal Street Youth Programme runs throughout Zeal’s offices all over New Zealand I just discussed the West Auckland Pilot. For more information about the programme – see this article about the programs success or this article about Zeal in West Auckland specifically you can follow the Hamilton Street Youth workers on Instagram and Zeal on Instagram 

Generation Ignite is also on Facebook and Instagram they also have a Food Bank which you can contribute to – get more information here

“Zeal’s Street Youth Work initiative is inspirational, transformational, demonstrates excellent leadership” – Cheryl Reynolds 


Feature Image: Google.

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