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Gore man Tane Boyce is overwhelmed by the public response to his idea to help young people in the town.
On Tuesday, Mr Boyce posted his idea on a social networking site and by 1pm on Thursday it had already received 95 comments, 148 shares and 248 emoticons.
Mr Boyce, who is of Nga Puhi, Kai Tahu descent, said he had often seen young people walking the streets and been concerned because when he was younger he also had done that.
‘‘Something clicked in my head and I just thought what can I do?’’ Mr Boyce said.
He was not sure what to do about the situation.
‘‘I’ve been stewing on it for a while.’’
However, on Tuesday he came up with an idea which he posted online.
‘‘I’m looking into starting up a youth group type of thing in Gore this year, with the aim of creating a Hub which provides a safe environment for youth who are at risk of offending or heading down negative pathways, and youth in general 13-18 years (case by case) to educate them on certain things and preparing them for the workforce, also ranges of activities,’’ he posted.
It was just an idea he had put out into the public arena but the feedback was ‘‘massive’’.
‘‘I didn’t expect it to blossom like this as fast as it has.
‘‘I really thought it was going to be a longer process than this.’’
The 25-year-old, who grew up in Gore, had recently finished working at the Alliance meat processing plant in Mataura.
The late Piripi Gage, who had worked with young people in the town teaching kapa haka, had been like a mentor to him.
‘‘He was a father figure for me . . .I feel like it is time to carry on what he was doing.’’
Now he had received such a positive response to the plan, he needed to work out the finer details of how the project would be organised, including finding a name for the group and a meeting place.
Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said he was very pleased Mr Boyce had come forward.
‘‘A young leader like that standing up and wanting to be counted is exactly what we need and [we] look forward . . .to working with him to see what we can do,’’ Mr Hicks said.
It was good timing for Mr Boyce to be talking about his idea as the Hokonui Huanui project gets under way.
‘‘The Hokonui Huanui project is about community wrapping around both physically and metaphorically with individuals that are having challenges . . .that is exactly what Tane wants to do as well.’’
Gore youth aid officer Senior Constable Steve Heyrick said Mr Boyce’s idea had merit.
‘‘I think it will be a great idea if it can get off the ground. I would be happy to meet with Tane and help him out any way we could as well.’’
There was a need for a project like this, Snr Const Heyrick said. Hokonui Huanui co-lead Bernadette Hunt said she had touched base with Mr Boyce but was looking forward to meeting him again.
‘‘We’ll certainly be connecting with him, both to fill him in on some of the work that’s already going on . . .and also to capture some of the ideas he’s got and his enthusiasm and willingness to be involved,’’ Mrs Hunt said.
‘‘He’s putting it out there and getting the conversation going, which is great.’’