Tuākana: College Youth Ministers

WelCom March 2021 Marian Lima The Archdiocese of Wellington’s Young Church Mission is delighted to have a team of dedicated youth ministers working with young people in five of the…

WelCom March 2021

Marian Lima

The Archdiocese of Wellington’s Young Church Mission is delighted to have a team of dedicated youth ministers working with young people in five of the nine Catholic colleges around the Archdiocese. Through our Young Church Tuākana project, the team members are each partnered to a college to help demonstrate and grow the relevance and value of Catholic Christian faith today. 

This year Jacob Madigan, Teariki Akavi, and Sophia Nunns-Smith have joined Teresa Rayner and John Richards. We’re excited for this young crew as they accompany students at their assigned colleges of St Patrick’s Town, Bishop Viard, Chanel, St Catherine’s and St Bernard’s Colleges. As young Catholic advocates they support and increase Catholic character among the students at their college.

The name Tuākana – older sibling – expresses the special relationship each youth minister has with their school community. The Tuākana are able to accompany students in a different way to that of the teaching staff, connecting as mentors and companions rather than as formal educators. 

Following the Synod ’17 outcomes and recognising that many of our college students are disconnected from Sunday assembly, we wanted to reach out directly to where young people are. 

The Young Church Tuākana role involves helping to:

  • prepare students for the Sacraments of Initiation;
  • facilitate special character events and practices in colleges;
  • act as positive Faith-led role models;
  • lead and grow active outreach programmes.

The Tuākana also foster links between schools and the wider parish to help parishes become more youth-friendly and welcoming.


Meet the Tuākana college ministry team

Tuākana: College Youth Ministers Archdiocese of Wellington

Teariki Akavi – Bishop Viard College, Porirua

“Kia Orana tatou katoatoa i te aroa maata o te Atua. With a humble and gracious heart I have been given the opportunity of working at Bishop Viard College this year! I look forward to working with staff and students to enable the love of Christ to be shared among us all and to be used in the service of ALL our brothers and sisters. My hope for this year is to make an impact in any way, shape and form. The successes of what Bishop Viard College will become this year will always belong to the staff and students but most importantly, they belong to our Loving God.” #YCTuākana

Tuākana: College Youth Ministers Archdiocese of Wellington

Sophia Nunns Smith – Chanel College, Masterton

“Hi! I’ll be working with Chanel College in Masterton! It’s a new role for us all but I’m super excited to work with the school. I’ve been really passionate about the youth of our Church for a few years now, so having the opportunity to help and guide them is amazing! A big hope I have for this year is to get Chanel students energised and excited about their Faith, all while showing them Catholicism is actually pretty cool! It would wonderful if you could pray for our youth as we all make this important journey following Christ.” #YCTuākana

Tuākana: College Youth Ministers Archdiocese of Wellington

Teresa Rayner – St Catherine’s College, Kilbirnie

“Hi, I’ll be working at St Catherine’s College, this year. During lockdown last year I was privileged to see St Cath’s community come together to support every single student, and I love being part of such a tight-knit school family. I’m very excited to be back in my role for a second year and look forward to strengthening the relationships I was able to begin in 2020. My hope for 2021 is simply that I may plant, or water the seeds to help our students come to know how much they are loved by Christ!” #YCTuākana

Tuākana: College Youth Ministers Archdiocese of Wellington

John Richards – St Bernard’s College, Lower Hutt 

“Hi, this year I’m really looking forward to getting back into work at St Bernard’s College. After some of the disruptions of 2020, I felt like I was making some real progress with relationships in the school and really enjoying my time and work with the students and staff. So, my hope for this year is to pick up where I left off last year and continue the work at the school while looking for opportunities to branch those relationships in the college and to our communities and parishes.” #YCTuākana

Tuākana: College Youth Ministers Archdiocese of Wellington

Jacob Madigan – St Patrick’s College, Kilbirnie 

“This year I will be working at St Patrick’s College Town. I finished studying at St Pat’s last year and am glad to have this opportunity to go back and help the community with their Faith. I hope to help students and staff understand their Faith better as well as being a mentor for the students. I am hoping to get students involved at retreats, having good discussions in classes, and being more connected with their parishes. I know the school well, and I hope we can achieve a lot this year and help the students learn and grow in their Faith.” #YCTuākana