Q & A with Hellmuth Hartung

Published: 25 May 2016

News type: Local news   

Hellmuth Hartung was born in Turangi and was raised in Tongariro and Tauhara. Hellmuth was originally trained as a Seamen Combat Systems Specialist & Diver in the Royal New Zealand Navy. Following his time in the Navy, he worked for the YMCA in New Plymouth for five years as an Education Development Team Leader and Project Manager.

Hellmuth is now the Community Projects Officer for the Taupo District Council, and is extremely passionate about the work that he is involved in locally.

Dan Henderson spoke with Hellmuth about his work with the Taupo District Council and how else he is involved in the community.

What is your role within Taupo District Council? What Community Groups does this include working with?

My role focuses largely on Community Development & Partnerships which includes two main areas:

  1. Working with the Young people and the Community Safety network through the various programmes we run locally; and
  2. My connection with Schools, Tertiary training, youth groups, government agencies, and community groups, and ensuring we collaborate and remain up to date with what each is doing.

What types of industry opportunities are there in Taupo, and if any, are their any specific industry’s you target in the work you do?

We have quite interesting industry opportunities here in Taupo. The main ones are:

  • Agribusiness
  • Tourism
  • Energy
  • Forestry

We also have a lot of emerging medium size enterprise which is creating a lot of opportunities for the local economy.

What are the various programmes you have running in Taupo? Tell me a bit about each one, and the structure of these programmes?

We have three main programmes:

  1. Youth in Emergency Services (“YES”) – this aims to better connect young people to the Taupo community, increase confidence and knowledge in participating actively with the local emergency services. This group is made up of all emergency services agencies representatives, youth representatives and the steering group which role is to implement the programme.
  2. Council Leader in You (“LIY”) – young people engage with Council elected members and staff. This involves participating and contributing to the council plans, advocacy on common issues and projects that young people want to see happen in the community. The group has a Chairperson and committee which is made up of year 12/13 students from across the district. The Current Chair  of the committee is Taupō Youth MP Javan Rose. Council staff and contractor advise and support the groups plan for the year.
  3. Taupo Pathways Trust (local MTFJ initiative) – the aim of this to have all under young people under the age of 25 participating in education, training and employment within the Taupo District. The current work stream which we are working on are the Youth Job seeker workshops that we run which are 1-2 day workshop which focuses on team work, goal setting, attitudes, pathways. The structure of the Pathways Trusts consists of 10 trustees from a wide range agencies; local and central government, private sector, secondary and tertiary education institutions and iwi groups. The Trust is set to appoint a manager/coordinator, which will be based at Council, and will be funded through grants, fundraising and government contracts.

Explain your experience with young people in the work you do in Taupo?

The work I do with young people is split into three areas.

  1. Construct council plans and strategies to include young peoples participation in the local decision making process with an aim for them be more active citizens in the community.
  2. Lead, advocate and partner with local youth groups and agencies that work with young people in the district.
  3. Provide and facilitate leadership opportunities in the district though the LIY and YES programmes.

What types of issues, if any, have you had to overcome in your work??

There has been a major issue around the funding and sustainability of youth projects we have running in Taupo. I am keen to see youth enterprise up and running to support the evidence based programmes we run that work on all of the fundamentals of youth development.

What is your personal vision for the young people in the Taupo community, and New Zealand?

That every young person is able to reach their full potential and that are lots of opportunities for all young people to participate in personal and group development programmes.

What is your reason for being involved in your community?

I thought the role at Taupo District Council would be a great job to do day-by-day as it involves tangible and fulfilling work in the community which includes both the vulnerable and disengaged but also groups that are doing well. I enjoy the opportunity to walk alongside all young people I work with and watch them develop through each stage of their life.

What other things to do you do in your community (on a personal level, if any)?

I am a Rural Fire volunteer, and I also volunteer for the ‘Big Brothers Big Sisters’ organisation where I am a mentor. I also enjoy any sports in general and was a part of the New Plymouth Ranger Football player in 2012 where we were Championship and Cup winners!!!