The Place to be


Written by Yvonne Bay


First of all, I want to thank my dearest friend that introduced me to Nga Rangatahi Toa, if it wasn’t for you my dear friend, I would have never been able to have this amazing experience. So thank you again!!

My friend asked me this one day if I wanted to go with her to the Vodafone Music Awards with NRT and I said “Hell yeah”, not knowing anything about this programme. This was the beginning of a whole new life for me slowly coming together. 

We did ArtAction which was quite amazing! There were 2 groups; one was about photography and all that digital stuff, and the other was music. We had to pick what group to work in together to create a piece within a few weeks to represent at an exhibition. I chose music. I chose to go out of my comfort zone and do something I wouldn’t usually choose to do and that is the magic about NRT, you get given all of these opportunities but it is up to yourself whether you want to challenge yourself or not and I chose to challenge myself. This place is somewhere nobody judges you if you were to make mistakes and I felt safe and sound surrounded by these people that I now call family. My group created a beat together and we all had a part in it either rapping or singing. The turn out of it was better than I expected and I was proud of myself and my friends.

Later on in the year, we did Manawa Ora. This is where each of the kids in this programme, including myself, gets a mentor to create a piece to perform at a showcase held at the Herald Theatre. The special thing about it is that we are matched with someone that we would actually be able to be open and to connect with. I was matched with Teuila Blakely (image above). Working with Teuila was such a privilege. We spent a week getting to know each other, doing yoga, creating spoken word and having fun! She played a big part in the spoken word piece that she helped me create. This spoken word was a combination of my life and my “Hope for a generation” .  It was beautiful! Manawa Ora was real intense because everything all had to happen within two weeks. But it was all worth it in the end! To be able to get my message out to thousands of people and to connect with them while on stage was such a great experience.

During Manawa Ora, I also got the opportunity to be in a photoshoot with my mentor to be published in the Woman’s Day magazine, to perform 5 shows over 4 consecutive days at the Herald Theatre with my amazing friends, to perform at the Watercooler at the Basement Theatre with my mentor and another special friend and to make some really special lifelong friends. It was really intense but it was great!

Yvonne has her very own blog that she keeps up to date around her schooling commitments. You can read more about her journey HERE