Mariah Okeroa, Mentor, Te Huinga Waka Juniors Kapa Haka
Mariah Okeroa, a resident of North Parramatta, has been nominated for the 2013 Young Women of the West Award for her charitable work and advocacy for Maori and Pacific Islander young people in Greater Western Sydney.
Since 2001 Mariah has been involved in Te Huinga Waka Juniors Kapa Haka, a Maori cultural performance and language group. Initially a performer in the group, Mariah has since become a senior member and mentor for the junior performers.
Mariah’s deep understanding of the difficulties facing Maori and Pasifika youths in Greater Western Sydney led her to join the NSW Youth Advisory Council (YAC) where she works to ensure that young people have the opportunity to participate in the development of Government policies and policies which relate to them.
As the sole youth representative on the Young Offender’s Advisory Council (YOAC), she is also involved in providing advice to the NSW Minister for Juvenile Justice and the Attorney General on juvenile justice issues, and is responsible for communication between the YOAC and YAC.
A former student at Cheltenham Girls’ High School, Mariah is now studying a Bachelor of International and Global Studies degree at the University of Sydney.
She was also selected on the basis of academic merit, community spirit and leadership capabilities to join The Australian Delegation to the Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN). Taking place in February 2013, the Delegation will involve debating, negotiating and speaking in front of thousands of accomplished students in Boston.
As part of her personal volunteering efforts, she has made significant contributions to the ‘Making a Difference at Christmas’ Parramatta Town Hall Campaign – for the last six years volunteering her time to serve brunch and lunch to homeless and disadvantaged people.
All of these activities have been completed in addition to Mariah’s formal occupation, as a customer assistance officer at Sydney City Ferries. In her spare time, she also coaches the debating team at Tara Anglican School for Girls, and acts as adjudicator at school debating events at a local, regional and state level.
Mariah was nominated for the 2013 Young Women of the West Award by Anne Stewart, Director of Edible Events. The application was also supported by Cat Wright, Executive Officer of the Youth Advisory Council.
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