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22 December 2022  •  Melissa Hill

Bastion Shine’s 2022 school year with Manurewa High School

Munrewa High School Bastion Shine

We’re privileged to work in an industry where we’re often responsible for creating campaigns and communication that engages Aotearoa’s increasingly diverse ethnic population.

Yet diversity in the creative sector is still grossly lacking. In the Commercial Communications Council’s latest Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report, only 7% of respondents working in our industry identified as Māori and only 3% as Pacific Islanders.

Tackling this gap has to start earlier, creating awareness of our sector and pathways into it, before our rangatahi even have to entertain decisions about tertiary study.‍

As part of Bastion Shine’s involvement in a working group with the Communications Council and other partner agencies to collectively create more pathways into our industry, we were matched with Manurewa High School, one of Aotearoa’s most diverse schools.‍

Our journey with them throughout 2022 has included hui across seven months, as part of the School’s Creative Ara (pathway) Mentoring programme. Each session involved korero and kai, introducing how wide our industry is.‍

Leaders from our Strategy, Creative and Design teams went to Manurewa to share their industry journey, their role and bringing inspiration to these high school students about an industry that, in most cases, they weren’t really aware of.

To end the programme, we gave the students their first brief on a topic they felt was important among their peer group, increasing awareness around the risks of vaping. They used what they’d heard over the year and landed creative ideas that spoke to their mates.

We invited clients from Hāpai Te Hauora to hear their responses and they loved the authenticity of a youth perspective on a youth-related issue. We’re excited to welcome one of the students into the agency over her summer break to intern with us. 

And most of all, we’re excited to have just learned that advertising will now be included in the School’s English curriculum for 2023 and that we’ll be able to continue our journey with Manurewa High.

As much as these kids might have learned something new from us, we learned just as much from them. All of us who’ve been fortunate to spend time with these bright young minds come away deeply enriched.

A huge whakawhetai (thanks) to the Director of Disruption, Emma O’Riordan and the Executive Director of The Manurewa High Business Academy, Leanne Gibson for their leadership and championing this with their student body. Emma O’Riordan, director of disruption in the Manurewa High Business Academy: “We were thrilled to add a new programme in collaboration with Bastion Shine, called Creative Ara (pathway) Mentoring. It was a deep and comprehensive way to educate our students about the opportunities within the advertising industry. 

“Every session felt like a masterclass. The students even worked on their own campaign; the future is bright with these future creatives!”

In 2023, the programme will be integrated into a senior English class led by the co-leader of the department, Amelia Harris. Emma says: “Now that we’ve had this first year of learning, our roll-out into English is an important phase in the collaborative journey. It gives the opportunity to enhance the English curriculum in an authentic way, and it still offers the potential to reach a broad range of students who may not have considered the advertising industry as a pathway.” 

Student Sara Abo Ness shared her feedback: “The Creative Ara mentoring programme exposed me to a career path I hadn’t yet considered, and the workshops taught me valuable skills of advertising and influencing others through creative ideas.” 

Manurewa High, see you in 2023!

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