Brylee… our youth MP

Proud grandmother Marie Gibbes with Brylee in the Te Awamutu Rose Gardens. Picture: Mary Anne Gill

Te Awamutu teenager Brylee Gibbes used a home video to secure her selection as the Taranaki-King Country Youth MP in the 10th New Zealand Youth Parliament.

The 3-minute 22 second promotional piece featured the music of Six 60 and wowed Member of Parliament Barbara Kuriger.

Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger

“This able young woman, who sent me a fantastic application, has an amazing array of talents. So, I am very much looking forward to working with her.”

Brylee, 16, showed off her whānau in the clip and included grandmother Marie Gibbes, who also lives in Te Awamutu, saying she is “especially close to my nana who just turned 81.”

Her mother Lanah is a teacher at Te Awamutu Primary School, father Chris is a professional rugby coach with the Hurricanes in Wellington and older sister Ashley-Jayne a teacher in Hamilton.

“My family and friends mean the absolute world to me, and I value any opportunity to be in their company,” she said in her application,

“I’m forever grateful for the opportunities I have experienced.”

Mental health is one of the biggest issues of her generation, Brylee said.

“This issue needs more awareness and I would love the opportunity to advocate for this.

“We need to improve the mental health system in New Zealand and especially how teens are treated.

Brylee Gibbes

“I feel passionate about this as I have seen first-hand what mental health has done to some peers and I have seen friends suffer in silence, afraid to reach out for support.

“We need stronger guidance about how to best support those struggling with a mental illness because no one deserves to suffer in silence.”

Brylee told Kuriger she wants to be part of the solution to the “escalating problem”.

She also said the Youth MP for Taranaki-Country should be someone who others could relate to, could set high standards and influence others by modelling through authentic leadership, who was prepared to speak on behalf of others, problem solve and cope in stressful situations and be passionate about what they believed in.

“I believe I can make a difference.”

Brylee’s passion is dance. She is a member of two competition teams and dances every day of the week.

When Covid is not challenging her and other dancers, she competes all over New Zealand and internationally and teaches dance four days a week.

Recently she taught adults for the first time but usually teaches dancers aged 5-17.

She loves Jump Jam and received an award for excellence in coaching. Jump Jam is a fusion of dance and fitness disciplines along with cultural interpretations that capture the look, attitude, posture and elements of aerobics and fitness.

Brylee attends Te Awamutu College where she has been an advocate for dance.

She coaches and participates in the school’s competition dance team.

“Teaching with such a wide range of ages has been such a learning curve.

“Communication, approachability and organisation all have helped me manage these situations,” she said.

“My love for dance grows and I see myself taking this somewhere after school.”

Marie Gibbes said she was “very proud” of her granddaughter and that she would make a real difference in the Youth Parliament.

Youth Parliament is held every three years and is a unique opportunity for young New Zealanders to learn first-hand about our democracy, influence government decision-making, and have their voices heard.

The 10th New Zealand Youth Parliament will be held on 19 and 20 July next year.

It is run by the Office of the Clerk and the Ministry of Youth Development – Te Manatū Whakahiato Taiohi.

Twitter @maryannegill

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