The official launch of the Pacific Youth and Sports Conference (PYASC) 2010 was held in Manukau City, New Zealand, on Monday 31 August with organisers from Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) and Manukau City Council (MCC) celebrating the occasion in style.
Colour and culture dominated proceedings as representatives of a variety of sports, political and cultural organisations gathered at MCC offices to learn more about the conference which is set to take place at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre from 8-13 March next year.
Among the VIPs in attendance were Mayor of Manukau Len Brown, OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas, New Zealand athletics legend and MCC Councillor Sir John Walker, Mangere MP Su’a William Sio, former All Black Michael Jones, Secretariat of the Pacific Community representative Rose Maebiru, NZ Football Chairman Frank van Hattum and many others.
After a Maori blessing and Kapa Haka performance, Mayor Len Brown addressed the audience and explained how PYASC will encourage community involvement for the 1000+ young people expected to attend the event.
“The Pacific Youth and Sports Conference is a chance for Pacific youth to celebrate who they are and where they come from with pride,” said Brown.
“I want to thank Oceania Football Confederation and the organisers for their creativity and hard work and having the foresight to build a dynamic youth network so their voices are heard.”
Speeches followed from MP Su’a William Sio, former All Black and PYASC ambassador Michael Jones, and OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas who provided guests with further details about the initiative.
“The conference represents a partnership between various stakeholders in the region whose common goal is to assemble the youth of the region together to see how sport can improve individuals and communities,” said Nicholas.
“Objectives of the week-long conference include reinforcing youth and sport networks, planning ways to increase participation of young people in society through sport, and building structures whereby youth associations, government institutions and sports organisations can be more closely linked.”
Under the leadership of PYASC chief executive officer Franck Castillo, organisers aim to involve over 1000 young people from 25 Pacific territories. This will include a limited number of young people who are sponsored by the organising committee while all remaining participants will pay a registration fee.
The conference will be based around four central themes including health, education and training, citizenship and good governance, social integration and anti-discrimination. It will include seminars, workshops, exhibitions and roundtable meetings where concrete action plans will be drawn up and presented at the closing ceremony.
At the completion, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community is looking to hold a meeting involving youth and sports ministers from around the region who can adopt the action plans that are born during the event. OFC will also assist in the implementation of new projects with support from its partners.
Mayor of Manukau Len Brown and OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas
Kapa Haka cultural performance
Mangere MP Su’a William Sio
PYASC Ambassador and former All Black Michael Jones
Cook Islands dance group