Youth Plan: Voice, Leadership, Action

The aims of the Youth Plan: Voice, Leadership, Action (Youth Plan) are: the voices and perspectives of young people are listened to, valued, and embedded in decision-making at all levels; and the mana of young people is uplifted, and young people are enabled to lead their own lives, have their identities seen, valued and respected, and have increasing influence in their communities and over government policy. The Youth Plan is formed of three interconnected documents: a Strategic Framework, a Rolling Suite of Actions, and a Measurement Framework.

Who is the Youth Plan for?

The Youth Plan is for young people aged 12-24 years. That’s approximately 850,000* young people, making up 17% of the population. Although the Youth Plan is for all young people, it acknowledges that some groups of young people experience higher threats to wellbeing, based on factors such as their ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, disability, and geographic location.

For this reason, the Youth Plan has a particular focus on the perspectives, experiences, and outcomes of seven priority cohorts. These are:

  • rangatahi Māori
  • Pacific young people
  • rainbow young people**
  • disabled young people
  • young women
  • young people from ethnic communities (in particular, former refugees and recent migrants)
  • young people living in the regions.

*Based on 2018 Census

**The Youth Plan uses ‘rainbow young people’ as an umbrella term to include all young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, gender diverse, gender fluid, transgender, takatāpui, intersex, fa’afafine, leiti, queer, or whose sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics differ from majority, binary norms.

Government agencies, and the youth and community sectors

Where the original Youth Plan focused on actions government agencies would take, the refreshed Youth Plan emphasises collaboration between government agencies and the youth and community sectors.  Future actions to give effect to the aims of the Youth Plan will therefore be led by a diverse mix of government agencies, and community and youth sector organisations. Youth or community sector organisations that are interested in leading or supporting a potential Youth Plan action can get in touch here.

The Youth Plan Cross-Agency Working Group will be the main mechanism through which agency-led actions can be identified, developed, tested, and collaborated on. If you are a government agency and would like to join the Youth Plan Cross-Agency Working Group, please get in touch here. If you are a community or youth sector organisation, please get in touch here.

What are the Youth Plan’s focus areas?

The Youth Plan has two focus areas: Voice and Leadership.

As part of the Youth Plan’s refresh, MYD engaged with over 1,400 young people across the motu to find out what youth voice and leadership meant to them which helped to define the two focus areas:


Voice is about opportunities for young people to speak and be heard. This may come in many forms e.g., an eligible young person voting, signing a petition, vocalising their views at a protest, or asking questions of a member of Parliament. It can be through formal engagement opportunities or more informal channels, sharing their views on social media, or advocating for an issue among peers.

Decision-makers listening is essential to young people sharing their voice. The impact of youth voice is determined by the quality of listening that happens as part of the process. Quality listening includes information-sharing, closing feedback loops, and decision-makers taking action after hearing from young people.


Leadership looks different for every young person. For some, leadership is about self-determination. For others, it is about having influence in their communities and in decision-making processes. For many, it is about supporting and caring for others through collective action.

Young people want to have more influence over issues that impact them. Decision-makers should invest in opportunities that foster the leadership of young people while also creating increasing space for young people to advise, influence, and collectively lead.

Mana Taiohi

The Youth Plan advocates for the use of Mana Taiohi. Mana Taiohi is a principle-based framework that informs the way people who work with young people work in Aotearoa New Zealand, with a Te Ao Māori worldview. With Mana as its overarching principle, Mana Taiohi incorporates an additional eight interconnected and holistic principles representing the inherent mana young people have and how this mana can be uplifted through youth development. These are:

The mana young people have:

How youth development can uplift mana:

In the context of the Youth Plan, engagement with young people should create safe spaces which enable them to share their voice, be heard, and influence decision-making on the issues that matter to them. This aligns with Whai Wāhitanga, which determines the right of young people to have agency in their lives and the decisions that affect them.

Youth Plan Documents

The Youth Plan is formed of three interconnected documents:

  • Strategic Framework: sets out the purpose, aims, focus areas, and tools in our kete to creating and implementing Youth Plan actions.
  • Rolling Suite of Actionshelps give effect to the aims of the Youth Plan through tangible, incremental action.
  • Measurement Framework: provides an intervention logic for monitoring and assessing how the rolling suite of actions contributes towards the key outcomes of the Youth Plan.

Access is available in the following formats:

  • English Youth Plan Strategic Document
  • English Youth Plan Rolling Suite of Actions
  • English Youth Plan Measurement Framework
  • English Youth Plan Summary
  • Te Reo Māori Youth Plan Strategic Document
  • Te Reo Māori Summary
  • Easy Read Youth Plan Summary
  • NZSL
    • See video below
  • Braille
    • On request
  • Audio
    • Links to audio versions of English Youth Plan Strategic Document and Summary available below
    • USB available on request
  • Large print Youth Plan Strategic Document
  • Large print Youth Plan Summary

To request hard copies, Braille or Audio versions of the Youth Plan, please call (04) 916 3300 or freephone 0508 FOR MYD (367 693), or email mydinfo[at]

Youth Plan Strategic Document Audio (Mpeg 12.05MB)

Youth Plan Summary Audio (Mpeg 4.12MB)

Review and Refresh of the Youth Plan

The first Youth Plan (2020-2022): Turning Voice into Action – Rebuilding and Recovering launched in July 2020. It was primarily informed by engagement with young people and the youth sector, and collaboration with government agencies. While work on the first Youth Plan began prior to the emergence of COVID-19, it was adapted to incorporate a COVID-19 response and recovery lens prior to its launch.


A review of the Youth Plan began in mid-2022 to assess the effectiveness of the Youth Plan in achieving better outcomes for young people and coordinating action across government. This included: a process evaluation; targeted engagement with young people; targeted engagement with the youth sector; a baseline report using the Youth Plan’s initial measurement framework; and self-assessments from action leads. These materials contributed to an initial report to the then Minister of Youth in October 2022. The report and supporting materials can be accessed under the Information Release section of this page.


The refresh of the Youth Plan began late 2022 with a view to launch an improved Youth Plan in early to mid-2023. Young people’s voices played a key role in refreshing the youth plan, with MYD kaimahi and MYD’s Youth Advisory Group (YAG) reaching over 1,400 young people across the motu through in-person engagements and an online survey. More information about the refresh engagement findings can be found under the Information release section of this page.

How the Youth Plan relates to other government strategies and action plans

The Youth Plan drives change as part of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy (CYWS), under the outcome area: “Children and young people are involved and empowered”.  It seeks to achieve this outcome by embedding youth voice and leadership into government and community decision-making and action, particularly in the issues that matter most to young people.

The Youth Plan also complements numerous other government strategies and action plans, including those not part of the CYWS programme of actions.  These include (but are not limited to):

  • Youth Employment Action Plan
  • Oranga Tamariki Action Plan
  • Homelessness Action Plan
  • Disability Action Plan
  • National Strategy to eliminate family and sexual violence
  • National Action Plan Against Racism.

Information Release

Youth Plan: Voice, Leadership, Action Proactive Release

In August 2023, the following report and supporting appendix items were proactively released by the Ministry of Youth Development – Te Manatū Whakahiato Taiohi, on behalf of the Minister for Youth:

Phase One Review of the Youth Plan Proactive Release

In December 2022, the following report and supporting appendix items were proactively released by the Ministry of Youth Development – Te Manatū Whakahiato Taiohi, on behalf of the Minister for Youth:

Youth Plan 20-2022 Proactive Release

In July 2020, the following Cabinet paper and related Cabinet Social Wellbeing Committee and Cabinet minutes, has been proactively released by the Ministry of Youth Development – Te Manatū Whakahiato Taiohi, on behalf of the Minister for Youth:

The Youth Plan: Reporting on Progress Cabinet paper provides the first update on the progression of the Youth Plan 2020-2022: Turning Voice into Action – Rebuilding and Recovering for the period July 2020 to January 2021. Visit the Ministry of Social Development’s website for more information.

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