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“Leaving school and going into a new phase of your life is exciting but can also be confusing. Looking after all dimensions of yourself would be the first thing I’d recommend. At this age it feels like every decision reflects your identity, and that there are right and wrong paths to be on. The truth is you’re on a journey and that feeling a bit lost is normal, wherever you are now is the right place for you. Asking for help, asking questions, asking for advice is the best thing to do for yourself.”

- Marika

Gender and sexuality

The way we all identify with our gender and sexuality is personal. What’s important is that you deserve to feel comfortable in your own skin.

Video transcript available for Inclusion and diversity Open Close
Inclusion and diversity

On camera: Alex, wearing a blue hoodie over a white T-shirt with a satchel-style bag slung over his left shoulder, walks through a university campus, passing a red brick building with a small garden along its front.

Alex to the camera: Everyone deserves to feel valued and respected for who they are. If you believe that, you believe in an inclusive culture - where everyone is welcome to contribute.

On camera: Alex sits on a wooden bench on campus, the leafless branches of deciduous trees reaching up behind him towards grey, overcast sky.

Alex to the camera: But being inclusive also means calling out discrimination when we see it.

On camera: Cal, wearing a maroon skivvy, sits on some concrete stairs.

Cal to camera: Look, I don't how they do things where you're from, but in New Zealand we...

On camera: Cal's face freezes mid-sentence, her mouth slightly open and her eyes closed.

Noise: Pause button beeping.

Alex's voiceover: So,​ this​ is discrimination: making anybody feel bad for being different from you and your group. It can range from an ignorant comment to threats and harassment. Discrimination can be about a person's...

On screen: A list of words in white block text pop up on a red background as Alex speaks them out loud: ...'Race', 'Sex', 'Age', 'Employment Status', 'Disability', 'Gender Identity', 'Sexuality', 'Religion'.

Alex's voiceover: Basically any point of difference that makes someone unique.

Alex to the camera: Discrimination can make the victim feel unsafe, unable to express themselves, and it can be seriously damaging towards their mental health. ​You might think there's nothing wrong with making fun of someone for being old, for example, but how that feels for them isn't up to you. ​The same is true for sexual harassment and bullying.

On camera: Coloured lights flash on the walls and tables of an empty restaurant at night. Sam wears a white shirt.

Sam to camera: Yo, I should give my friend your number. He's real into girls with your kind of body...

On camera: Sam's face freezes mid-sentence.

Noise: Pause button beeping.

Alex's voiceover: This bro may think he's playing Cupid, but what he's actually doing is participating in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is any unwanted, inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances.

On camera: Alex sits at the empty bar of the restaurant, resting his elbow on it.

Alex to the camera: It can range from unwanted comments like these to more extreme examples, like sexual abuse or assault. Whether major or minor, neither is OK.

On camera: At a cafe with exposed brick walls, Cal sits with Sam who now wears a yellow beanie and a green and white striped rugby jersey. She addresses the camera like she's speaking to someone standing next to their small round table.

Cal to camera: I'm just confused. Are the rips in your jeans designer or are you just povo?

On camera: Cal and Sam freeze-frame.

Noise: Sam sniggers. Pause button beeping.

Alex's voiceover: We've all made fun of someone before. But when it happens to someone repetitively, deliberately and maliciously, we're no longer talking about jokes. We're talking about bullying.

On screen: A grey speech bubble resembling a text message appears on a bright red background. It reads 'Oi povo.' Three dots appear beneath it, changing in colour from light grey to dark indicating that someone is typing. A new message appears: 'I'm outside ur place.' The three dots appear again and are swiftly replaced with a sent photo of a rubbish skip covered in graffiti. This is followed by a message reading 'Jks', followed by a final message: 'This one is a bit outta ur price range.'

Alex's voiceover: Bullying is anyone acting in a harmful or intimidating way to another person over and over. It covers name-calling, physical abuse and other acts of aggression. It doesn't matter if it's online or in real life either. Bullying is bullying.

On camera: With his bag slung back over his shoulder, Alex wanders through a car park.

Alex to the camera: So what do you do if you're a victim of discrimination, harassment or bullying?

On camera: At the restaurant, Sam stands with his arms crossed over his white shirt. Cal is also dressed in a white shirt and stands with one hand on the leg of a chair they’ve placed upside down on a table as she speaks to Sam.

Alex's voiceover: Firstly, you should know that you should never just put up with it. The first approach, if you are comfortable, is to straight-up ask the person doing it to stop.

On camera: Cal now sits in one of the restaurant's booths a with manager in a striped shirt who listens to Cal with her hands clasped in front of her.

Cal to manager: I was on my break...

Alex's voiceover: If they don't stop, or if you don’t feel comfortable asking them to, talk to a teacher, principal or employer about the situation.

On screen: Words in white block text form a list on a bright red background: YouthLaw, Community Law, Human Rights Commission and Employment Relations Authority.

Alex's voiceover: There are also a number of services you can call on if you need advice, like YouthLaw, Community Law, the Human Rights Commission and the Employment Relations Authority. If it feels uncomfortable to talk about, you can also get in touch with many services through email or text too.

On camera: Alex stands on a wooden walkway on the university campus.

Alex to the camera: And if you see any of this stuff happening, call it out. It's everyone's job to be aware, to look out for each other and to take action when we need it. That's what an inclusive culture is all about.

On screen: The logo of the School Leavers' Toolkit rapidly slides into the middle of the screen with a link to their website.

Text on screen: School Leavers' Toolkit logo and

Te Ao Māori

Living in Aotearoa, it’s important to know some te reo Māori and have some understanding of te ao Māori (the Māori world). There are many great resources for support your journey with te reo Māori, such as: 

Having some understanding of te ao Māori is also very useful and important. You could start your learning by talking with someone who is knowledgeable, or by looking at some of the many great resources, including books on tikanga (correct protocol, custom) and Māori history, Māori Television, Waatea News, and websites like Māori Maps and Te Tai: Treaty Settlement Stories. 

Diversity in Aotearoa

We may seem relatively small compared to a lot of the world, though we are becoming increasingly diverse. Now more than ever, it’s important to understand the many cultures in Aotearoa.