St John celebrates 'International Understanding' with National Youth Festival

Victoria Hawkins |

The St John National Youth Festival being held in Auckland this weekend (23-26 April 2016) is the major event for St John Youth in New Zealand. As well as competitions this year’s festival has a theme of ‘International Understanding’ with 20 cultural groups presenting to the youth squads participating in the weekend event.

Each of the groups will present aspects of their culture to the squads that acknowledge the unique diversity in New Zealand. St John Northern Region Community Programmes Manager Pete Hoskin says the festival participants have a strong focus on the competitions day on the Sunday.

“The squads come from around the country and they’ve been training hard for this since last year. St John Northern Region is looking forward to hosting the festival, which provides opportunities for our future leaders who will go on to influence New Zealand communities,” Hoskin said.

The three St John Regions in New Zealand (Northern, Central and South Island) are represented by 12 teams who will be tested (as teams and individuals) in first aid, healthcare, leadership, communications, and drill (marching). Props, make-up and ‘patients’ will be used on competition day to recreate realistic accident and medical emergency situations. Scenes are staged as realistically as possible so that competitors react in a way that mirrors how they would respond in actual accidents and medical emergencies.

The St John Youth programme has been going strong for 89 years in New Zealand. It focuses on positive youth development, offering young people from 6 to 18 years great opportunities to develop leadership and decision-making skills. It encourages adventure and learning, with an emphasis on having fun and meeting new people.

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