Community comes out for Rainbow Room opening

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Pictured: WITT Board Member Charlotte LIttle and Taranaki Rainbow Youth Coordinator Wesley 

Local community, rainbow allies and a large number of WITT staff came along to celebrate the opening and blessing of the new Rainbow Room at WITT on Wednesday 27 April. The room, which is part of the Rainbow@WITT initiative, is open for all ākonga and kaimahi at WITT to feel represented and enjoy a safe, respectful and equitable place on campus.

Local MP Glen Bennet spoke at the opening and said that it is great to have the Rainbow Room open after WITT began the Rainbow@witt mahi as it shows the support of Rainbow students is not static or a token gesture.

“The first step for rainbow movements is creating visibility and normalising things associated with the rainbow community, which I’m excited to see happening here at WITT.”

“It’s great that WITT has created a permanent place on campus to honour and allow rainbow ākonga to flourish. The regional average for people who are openly a part of this community is very low and it all starts with visibility,” he said

The new space is primarily for Rainbow students and their allies to feel safe and comfortable but also opens opportunities to local groups such as Rainbow Youth and InsideOUT to come in and speak with the students.

Wesley, the regional coordinator for Rainbow Youth came along to the opening bearing gifts and is excited for the space to show its potential.

“This space gives our rainbow whānau freedom to grow, and I see this space having so much potential to become a real hub.”

“For me at Rainbow Youth it’s awesome to be able to pop in and have a space to connect directly with WITT’s rainbow students and korero with them about events going on in the community.”

“I currently do a lot of work in secondary school with rainbow students. With the new rainbow@witt initiative, I hope to help safety transition these students from the secondary to the tertiary environment,” they said.

Scott Brown, a first-year Bachelor of Nursing student and 2022 Student Leader, also spoke at the opening. Scott said he’s excited for the future of the space and hopes to see it develop as he embarks on his three-year journey with WITT.

“Allowing students to have a space on campus that is their own where they can feel safe, included and represented is so important. If these students can feel comfortable on campus with who they are and have open conversations in places like the Rainbow Room I believe the benefits of this will show in their study,” he said.

Find out more about Rainbow@WITT here

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