Nov. 20, 2018, 6:29 p.m.
Taipa rangatahi Shiquille Duval will represent MP Willow-Jean Prime in Parliament but admits she has her sights on the top.
“I look up to my principal being a leader of the school and that’s kind-of what I want to do when I finish uni – either be Prime Minister or principal of Taipa Area School,” she said.
The year 13 student has been chosen as Prime’s 2019 Youth MP, with her application exploring the issue of methamphetamine, and how it breaks connections between whanau, the community and the school.
Prime said she was so impressed with Shiquille’s work and her approach to her application.
"She involved her community in the whole process which I thought was so great because I believe that that is a great approach to advocacy and being an MP. Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, he toa takitini,” Prime said.
Shiquille has already used her leadership skills to save Taipa’s Monument, which recognises the landing of Kupe as well as local people killed in World War II. The monument was under threat from the two-laning of Taipa bridge.
“I got the monument for our school and brought it over because I didn’t want our history to be buried or locked away – whatever they were doing with it.”
Taipa Area School tumuaki/principal Doreen Bailey said the project is a good example of the way Shiquille motivates people into action.
“She now has a carver carving four pou representing the four houses in our school. She’s energised the students to figure out what’s going on the pou.”
Bailey commended Shiquille for her courage in stepping up to be youth MP. Such role models were essential for the younger students at the school, she said.
Callie Corrigan, who provided support for Shiquille in her application process, described her as sharp and tenacious.
“If there’s a kaupapa there, she’s someone who’s going to keep on going until she can get some success.”
The whole process had taught Corrigan the importance of empowering the youth voice.
“It’s really important that we ata whakarongo (listen) to our young people and see how do we support them in whatever their leadership skills or styles are.”
The 2019 Youth Parliament programme will run from 1 March to 31 August, with 120 'MPs' and up to 20 Youth Press Gallery members attending a two-day Youth Parliament in Wellington in July.
Shiquille will attend the event with her close friend Pinky Lambert, who will put her skills to use as a personal assistant.